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'More than 100' killed as Typhoon Haiyan lashes the Philippines

Officials in the Philippines say more than 100 people have been killed after the country was hit by one of the strongest storms on record. Typhoon Haiyan also caused extensive damage in eastern and central regions.

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Haiyan kills 'more than 100'

Captain John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, told a Manilla television station on Saturday that an agency official in the city of Tacloban in the eastern province of Leyte had put the death toll there at over 100.

"We received a message from our station manager in Tacloban and his message stated that 100 plus dead lying in the streets with 100 plus injured," Andrews said. "They were requesting medic operations, medical evacuation and relief."

Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras confirmed that Leyte, home to about 1.7 million people, had borne the brunt of the storm.

"We are very concerned about the situation there," Almendras said. "Our priority now is reaching as many people who need help as possible. Our focus is on rescue and relief operations."

A spokesman for the country's national disaster relief agency, Reynaldo Balido, said he expected the death toll to rise.

"Yolanda brought massive damage and almost no houses were left standing," Balido said, referring to Typhoon Haiyan by its Philippine name. "Many were reported killed and we are trying to get initial numbers so we don't get shocked by the increase."

Because the storm knocked out power and communications in the eastern and central regions, which were hardest hit by the storm, officials said it could take some time to finalize a death toll.

Around 800,000 people are reported to have left their homes in advance of the storm, which weather officials said packed sustained winds of 235 kilometers per hour (147 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 275 kilometers per hour. Local officials said the mass evacuation of villagers had likely saved many lives.

The Philippines tends to be hit by at least 20 typhoons annually. The worst storm of 2012, Bopha, left hundreds of people dead or missing in the southern region of Mindanao.

In Vietnam, more than 200,000 people fled to storm shelters with the storm expected to make landfall in the country on Sunday. A mass evacutation being carried out by some 170,000 soldiers is underway in the provinces in at least four coastal provinces, according to the state-run VNExpress news site. The Red Cross has warned some 6 million people could be affected by the typhoon in Vietnam.

pfd,dr/lw (dpa, AP)

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