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Typhoon Haiyan: Philippine President Blames ‘Emotional Drama’ For Exaggerated Death Toll

Nina Golgowski, New York Daily News

Philippine’s President Benigno Aquino dramatically lowered the previous estimated death toll of 10,000 to 2,000 Tuesday, blaming ’emotional drama’ for the higher figure.

President Obama phoned President Aquino Tuesday morning to express the nation’s “deep condolences.” Two U.S. Citizens are said to be among those killed, said the U.S. State Department.

The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan’s rampage through the Philippines is closer to 2,000 than the 10,000 previously estimated, President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday as two U.S. Citizens were confirmed as among those killed.

“Ten-thousand, I think, is too much,” Aquino told CNN in an interview. “There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed two U.S. citizens being among the storm’s casualties but she did not provide their names “out of the respect of the families.”

Aquino said the government was still gathering information from various storm-struck areas and the death toll might rise.

“We’re hoping to be able to contact something like 29 municipalities left wherein we still have to establish their numbers, especially for the missing, but so far 2,000, about 2,500, is the number we are working on as far as deaths are concerned,” he said.

President Obama phoned President Aquino Tuesday morning to express the nation’s “deep condolences” and continuing promise to help “as quickly as possible,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney who read out the call.

“The President affirmed that the thoughts and prayers of the American people go out to the millions of people in the Philippines affected by this devastating storm,” said the White House. “The United States is also providing food aid to feed tens of thousands of people in the coming days.”

Aircraft carrier, U.S. George Washington, is also on its way to the Philippines with several escort ships to help expand search and rescue operations, provide medical care and serve as platforms for helicopter, said the president.

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