Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity to speed relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
In a statement, he said the two worst affected provinces, Leyte and Samar, had suffered massive destruction and loss of life.Thousands of survivors are still desperately waiting for the aid effort to reach them. At least 10,000 people are feared to have been killed.
Tacloban is one of the worst affected cities. The BBC’s Jon Donnison, who is there, says there does not yet seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.
This is expected to change over the next few days, he says. Hundreds of thousands more people have been displaced after the high winds and floodwaters destroyed their homes. Damage to roads and airports has delayed the delivery of aid.
One of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall, Haiyan – named “Yolanda” by Filipino authorities – struck the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on Friday. It then headed west, sweeping through six central Philippine islands.
More than nine million people have been affected in the Philippines. Many are now struggling to survive without food, shelter or clean drinking water. A picture is slowly emerging of the full damage wrought by the storm:
The exposed easterly town of Guiuan, Samar Province – population 40,000 – is said to be largely destroyed
Three-hundred people were killed in the town of Basey, also in Samar, the provincial disaster office confirmed
Tacloban, Leyte Province, was largely flattened by a massive storm surge and scores of corpses are piled by the roadside, leaving a stench in the air as they rot. Hundreds of people gathered at the airport desperate for food and water, others trying to get a flight out
Disaster worker Dennis Chong told the BBC that assessments in the far north of Cebu province had shown some towns had suffered “80-90% damage”
Baco, a city of 35,000 in Oriental Mindoro province, was 80% under water, the UN said.
A huge international relief effort is under way, but rescue workers have struggled to reach areas cut off since the storm. However, reports from Tacloban say soldiers have been distributing food and water to some residents and the US military has sent marines to the city.