Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm of the year, left a trail of destruction in its passage over the central Philippines, where local officials estimated Sunday that more than 10,000 people died.
The typhoon, which was given the name Yolanda by Philippine officials, killed between 70 and 80 percent of the population of Tacloban, capital of Leyte province, which has a total of 220,000 people, the regional police chief, Elmer Soria, told reporters.
"According to the estimates of the provincial government, there will be some 10,000 fatalities" just on the island of Leyte, Soria said.
"The devastation here is absolute," Interior Minister Manuel Roxas said after arriving in Tacloban, the town sustaining the greatest damage from the storm and located 580 kilometers (360 miles) southwest of Manila.
Besides the deaths caused by falling objects, it appears that a combination of heavy winds, with gusts above 300 kph (186 mph), a sudden storm surge and heavy waves, similar to a tsunami, resulted in most of the loss of life.
The Philippine Red Cross had estimated on Saturday that the number of fatalities would be about 1,200, while the latest definitive figures provided by the Disaster Reduction and Management Council are that 151 people have been confirmed dead.
Some 4.5 million people in 36 provinces have been affected by Haiyan, of whom some 330,000 are being housed at shelters set up the government, according to the Philippine agency.
After passing through the central and southern Philippines, Haiyan is currently moving over the South China Sea toward Vietnam where it is anticipated to arrive on Monday and where local authorities have begun the evacuation of some 600,000 people.
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.
The Philippines' meteorological service, known as Pagasa, said Saturday that four more strong storms were expected to hit the country before year's end. EFE