Super Typhoon Haiyan, which lashed the Philippines with devastating winds before moving back out to sea, left more than 100 people dead in the central city of Tacloban, authorities said Saturday.
At least "100 bodies are lying on the streets, with at least 100 others injured," John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, told local television, citing reports from the airport director in Tacloban.
"This information is considered very reliable," Andrews said in a radio interview with the ABS-CBN network.
Portions of Tacloban "are completely in ruins" after the typhoon battered that city of 2 million inhabitants, capital of Leyte province, on Friday morning, Andrews said.
All local communications systems were reportedly destroyed in the city, which is located 360 miles southeast of Manila.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, for its part, said in its latest official bulletin that the typhoon left five people dead in the central region of the country and forced some 800,000 people to seek refuge at government-run shelters.
Council spokesman Reynaldo Balido said the number of casualties was expected to rise in the coming hours once reports have come in from devastated areas.
Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda and the world's most powerful typhoon of 2013, battered the Philippines with maximum sustained winds of 235 kph (145 mph) and gusts of up to 315 kph (195 mph).
"Yolanda caused massive damage and almost no houses were left standing" in the most affected areas, Balido said.
Meteorologists had warned prior to the arrival of Haiyan that it could be even more devastating than Typhoon Bopha, which left nearly a thousand dead in late 2012.
After pummeling the central and southern Philippines, Haiyan is now churning in the South China Sea and expected to slam into central Vietnam on Sunday morning. EFE