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Tacloban,B4, during and after Yolanda the WSJ report

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In assessing the damage and the city's response, the leaders responsible for managing the disaster in Tacloban said they simply didn't foresee the scale of the storm and its impact, even though the government's own forecasters and President Aquino had predicted storm surges six meters high.

"I think there was just no way to imagine, no way to calculate the destructive force of Yolanda," said Mr. Roxas, the interior secretary.

He added: "One of the problems was the term 'storm surge.' Nobody had heard it before, nobody knew what it was. I know it's the specific term the meteorologists use, but perhaps we should have said 'tsunami.' At least people would have been more aware of the danger."

Mr. Romualdez, the mayor, said he did everything he could. If he had to do it over again, he said, he wouldn't underestimate the storm.

President Aquino has called for an investigation into why so many people died from the typhoon. The toll of more than 5,000 is twice the high end of the estimate that the president predicted when he spoke on CNN four days after the storm, when he said the total would be closer to 2,000 or 2,500.

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