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Thousands Feared Dead After Super Typhoon Haiyan Slams Philippines

Updated: Some reports put the death toll as high as 10,000.

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One of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded slammed into the Philippines. Thousands are feared dead.

AFP / Getty Images

Bodies were lying in the streets of Tacloban, according to an initial report from an aviation officer, the deputy director general of the Philippines' Civil Aviation Authority said early Saturday.

A U.N. disaster team arriving to the area Saturday was shocked by the scenes of total devastation.

Reuters

"The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami," United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination Team Chief Sebastian Rhodes Stampa said. "This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumble weed and the streets are strewn with debris."

The Philippines' central islands were particularly hard hit as extreme winds and giant waves flattened communities across the area.

AFP / Getty Images

A mother weeps beside the dead body of her son at a chapel in Tacloban.

Haiyan weakened to a typhoon early Saturday but could return to super typhoon status before it is forecast to slam Vietnam on Sunday, CNN reported.

AP Photo/Nelson Salting

A house is engulfed by Haiyan's storm surge in Legazpi city, Albay province on Friday Nov.8.

The storm is forecast to barrel through the Philippines' central region Friday and Saturday before blowing toward the South China Sea over the weekend.

Super Typhoon Haiyan headed for Philippines. Sustained winds: 195 & gusts to 235 !! @wusa9 @hbwx @ericagrow

Topper Shutt

@Toppersweather

Super Typhoon Haiyan headed for Philippines. Sustained winds: 195 & gusts to 235 !! @wusa9 @hbwx @ericagrow

/ Via

This picture from space of Super Typhoon Haiyan is haunting. (Courtesy: 2013 EUMETSAT)

David Meyers

@davidfmeyers

This picture from space of Super Typhoon Haiyan is haunting. (Courtesy: 2013 EUMETSAT)

/ Via

More than 252,000 people living in vulnerable areas were evacuated in anticipation of the potentially devastating storm.

AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Philippine Coast Guard Chief Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena (center) checks newly acquired rubber boats that will be deployed to central Philippines in preparation for the storm's onslaught. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Time to flee from #YolandaPH #Haiyan. These are all the worldy possessions of one family in MARABUT, Eastern Samar

Atom Araullo

@atomaraullo

Time to flee from #YolandaPH #Haiyan. These are all the worldy possessions of one family in MARABUT, Eastern Samar

/ Via

The damage from the super typhoon is already becoming apparent.

PHOTO: Ormoc City Terminal less than an hour ago | via @mimikins_sandy

YouScoop

@YouScoop

PHOTO: Ormoc City Terminal less than an hour ago | via @mimikins_sandy

/ Via

Incredible before & after image of damage caused by #Yolanda in #Tacloban City

NJ Weather Blogs

@NJWeatherBlogs

Incredible before & after image of damage caused by #Yolanda in #Tacloban City

/ Via

6 houses in Cateel, Davao Oriental were washed away by huge waves last night. #YolandaPH @ABSCBNNews

Hernel Tocmo

@HernelTocmo

6 houses in Cateel, Davao Oriental were washed away by huge waves last night. #YolandaPH @ABSCBNNews

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"This is really a wallop. All roads are impassable due to fallen trees," Southern Leyte Gov. Roger Mercado said on ABS-CBN television.

Ang bumagsak na malaking puno ng Acacia sa Irosin Sorsogon. | @DZMMTeleRadyo

Johnson Manabat

@johnsonmanabat

Ang bumagsak na malaking puno ng Acacia sa Irosin Sorsogon. | @DZMMTeleRadyo

/ Via

Despite coming ashore in the island nation, the storm is not losing much of its strength because there is no large land mass to slow it down.

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View this video on YouTube

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According to the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, 174,000 people have been declared homeless due to damaged property.

Rainbow and Lightning over Manilla, Philippines #EarthPics

Google Earth Pics

@GoogleEarthPics

Rainbow and Lightning over Manilla, Philippines #EarthPics

/ Via

#Manila probably won't see it's highest storm surge til Sunday when winds shift out of the WSW. #YolandaPH #CNN

Mari Ramos

@MariRamosCNN

#Manila probably won't see it's highest storm surge til Sunday when winds shift out of the WSW. #YolandaPH #CNN

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Jon Passantino is a deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jon Passantino at jonathan.passantino@buzzfeed.com.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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