Typhoon Haiyan, the devastating storm that hit the Philippines on Friday, may have killed more than 10,000 people in the central part of the island nation, it was reported today.
China has issued a red alert, the highest alert in its warning system, for the typhoon, which is the worst in several decades. The China Meteorological Administration has warned that the storm is moving towards the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 per cent of the area in its path as it tore through the Philippines.
As rescue workers struggled to reach ravaged villages along the coast, where the death toll is as yet unknown, survivors foraged for food as supplies dwindled; or searched for lost loved ones.
"People are walking like zombies looking for food," Jenny Chu, a medical student in Leyte, told Reuters news agency. "It's like a movie."
Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging sea water strewn with debris that many described as similar to a tsunami, levelling houses and drowning hundreds of people in one of the worst natural disasters to hit the typhoon-prone Southeast Asian nation.
The national government and disaster agency have not confirmed the latest estimate of deaths, a sharp increase from initial estimates on Saturday of at least 1,000 killed by storm whose sustained winds reached 195 miles per hour (313 km per hour) with gusts of up to 235 mph (378 kph).
More than 330,900 people were displaced and 4.3 million "affected" by the typhoon in 36 provinces, a UN agency said. Relief agencies called for food, water and tarpaulins for the homeless.
The death toll could soar well over 10,000, authorities warned Sunday, making it the country's worst recorded natural disaster.
Witnesses and officials described chaotic scenes in Tacloban, the capital city of coastal Leyte distirict, with hundreds of bodies piled on the sides of roads and pinned under wrecked houses.
The city lies in a cove where the seawater narrows, making it susceptible to storm surges.