Philippines storm toll ‘tops 100’

More than 120 people have been reported killed by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, after the massive storm passed through the country on Friday.

Aviation officials said 100 bodies were lying in the streets of the city of Tacloban. Local journalists reported 20 bodies in a church in a nearby town.

The storm destroyed buildings and triggered landslides. The military has begun relief efforts.

Video from the city showed it engulfed by water when the typhoon struck.

It was one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall.

Aid agencies are struggling to reach Tacloban, as its airport has been badly damaged but military flights are able to operate, the BBC’s Jon Donnison reports from Manila.

Communications to some of the worst-hit areas were cut off when the storm hit and it may be days before the final death toll is known.

So far, only four people have been confirmed dead and another four are missing.

“We have reports of collapsed buildings, houses flattened to the ground, storm surges and landslides,” Philippine Red Cross chief Gwendolyn Pang told AFP news agency.

“But we don’t know really, we can’t say how bad the damage is… hopefully today we can get a better picture as to the effects of the super typhoon.”

The city of Tacloban was one of the worst affected
Tacloban residents gathered at the devastated airport for relief supplies
Cars and motorcycles were swept into a rice field
Philippines TV broadcast images of the city
Relief efforts have begun, with military planes flying to the worst-hit areas
Images from Mindoro island showed severe floods accompanying the storm surge.
Many buildings were damaged or destroyed in Iloilo province

The storm made landfall on the Philippines shortly before dawn on Friday, bringing gusts that reached 379 km/h (235 mph), with waves as high as 15m (45ft), bringing up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places.

Meteorologists had earlier warned that the storm could be as devastating as Typhoon Bopha in 2012, which ravaged parts of the southern Philippines and left at least 1,000 people dead.

Schools and offices were closed, while ferry services and local flights were suspended. Hospitals and soldiers were on stand-by for rescue and relief operations.

Power and communication lines were also cut to some areas.

Haiyan raged across Leyte and Samar, turning roads into rivers, and battered Cebu city, the country’s second largest with a population of 2.5 million.

The typhoon is expected to make landfall on Sunday as Chris Fawkes reports

Of the four confirmed dead, three were electrocuted and one was struck by lightning. Four are known to be missing.

Seven others were injured, but most of the confirmed casualties appear to be in areas less badly affected by the storm.

Also the deputy head of the Civil Aviation Authority, John Andrews, said he had spoken to Tacloban’s airport manager, who had seen more than 100 bodies around the facility, and at least 100 more people injured.

Journalists from a local TV network said they had seen 20 bodies piled up in a church in Palo, 10km to the south of Tacloban.

The eye of the storm – known locally as Yolanda – passed well to the south of the capital Manila, but the city still felt its force.

In the typhoon’s path were areas already struggling to recover from a deadly 7.3-magnitude earthquake last month, including the worst-hit island of Bohol where about 5,000 people are still living in tents.

The UK’s ambassador to the Philippines, Asif Ahmad, announced on Saturday that a team of humanitarian experts would be sent by the UK “to assess needs and then mobilise resources”.

The head of the EU’s delegation to the Philippines, Guy Ledoux, had earlier told local media that the EU was also sending a humanitarian aid team.

Officials had said more than 12 million people were at risk.

Vietnam evacuation

The typhoon is now heading for Vietnam, and is expected to make landfall on Sunday.

Vietnamese authorities have begun the mass evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

State media in Vietnam report that schools are being closed and people living in low lying coastal areas are being moved to temporary typhoon shelters on higher ground. Shipping has also been ordered back to port.