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1912 reports on Tacloban storm 'killing' 15,000 resurface

The Washington Herald issue in November 20, 1912 published an article about a powerful typhoon that pounded on Tacloban and Capiz. Oklahoma-based newspaper Daily Armoreite also ran an October 1912 story of a storm that damaged Tacloban and surrounding areas.

MANILA, Philippines - An old front page of the defunct Washington Herald resurfaced online running a story headlined "15,000 die in Philippine storm" and citing flattened out cities.

"The typhoon swept the Visayas and is said to have practically destroyed Tacloban, the capital city of Leyte, and to have wrought enormous damage and loss of life at Capiz," the news story reads, citing a cable dispatch to the United States Bureau of Insular Affairs.

The extreme weather event in November 26, 1912 seemed to have repeated itself 101 years after, when another severe typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) slammed onto the region and heavily devastated Tacloban City and Capiz, among others, on November 8 this year.

"That 15,000 persons were probably killed and wounded in a typhoon ... probably half the population of the two cities had been lost," the report says, without distinguishing between the general casualties and fatalities.

Related story: Areas severely affected by Yolanda

In contrast, over 10,000 are feared dead from Yolanda's wrath.

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The report continued with an account of the damage in the areas--descriptions similar to those of the aftermath of super-typhoon Yolanda.

"All telegraphic communication has been destroyed, and it is impossible to get other than vague reports of the extent of the disaster. That  Tacloban has suffered an enormous loss of life is believed to be certain," it said. It also recounted the truckload of food, clothing and medical supplies rushed to the scene.

The newspaper is among many others archived the US Library of Congress' National Endowment for the Humanities website that published other accounts of the catastrophe.

New York-based daily Oswego Palladium (now Palladium Times) also reported on 15,000 casualties in the deadly typhoon.

A page from the Oswego Palladium's November 29, 1912 issue. Get Real Philippines

"Tacloban is destroyed," the story deck in the November 29, 1912 issue reads. It included an account of the powerful cyclone's track following its inception over the Pacific Ocean.

"The typhoon swept from the East in a southerly direction crossing the island of Leyte ... going to Panay and whirling South, causing great damage along the coast of Mindanao," the article reads.

The November 1912 storm was preceded by a lesser powerful, albeit similarly destructive, storm October 16 that year, as cited by daily publications Amarillo Daily News, Daily Armoreite and the New Ulm Review.

Several American dailies reported a devastating typhoon in October 1912 that also struck Tacloban.

The reports estimated that the cyclone caused a sizeable $25 million in damage especially of agricultural plantations.

Also read: American football player carries Philippine flag upside down

"The storm extended over a wide area, touching Surigao in the south, Tacloban in the north and crossing Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros and Panay.

In 1912, the country was under the American occupation and a war between American forces and Philippine revolutionaries was being fought.

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