The following piece was published 10 November 2013, SBS World News Australia Radio.
By Ildi Amon
A super typhoon that's ravaged parts of the Philippines is estimated to have killed thousands of people.
And the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed at least one Australian is among those who've died.
But while aid agencies and government authorities scramble to assist millions of people who've been left stranded or whose homes have been destroyed, authorities fear the death toll could rise as they reach more isolated areas.
And Typhoon Haiyan's destruction was set to continue as the storm headed to Vietnam.
Ildi Amon reports.
While the Philippines has already been hit by dozens of storms this year, Typhoon Haiyan has been one of the most destructive to hit the Asian country.
It made landfall on Friday with winds of more than 300 kilometres an hour.
An emergency coordinator with World Vision Aaron Aspi on Bohol island of the Philippines says the devastation is overwhelming.
"There are lots of collapsed houses, entire villages submerged, and lots of debris and toppled trees and electric polls that have fallen."
Emergency coordinator with Care Australia, Adam Poulter says the high-winds and driving-rain caused widespread flooding and storm surges in some coastal areas.
And he says property, crops and infrastructure has been destroyed.
Mr Poulter says the typhoon has hit areas such as Leyte province, that are still recovering from earlier natural disasters.
"An area which had a devastating landslide in 2006 that killed a thousand people has seen repeated flooding and landslides, and some of the houses that were rebuilt for some of the affected families have actually been lost. We're also hearing about Bohol province where there was an earthquake that killed 200 people just a month ago, and again that's been very badly hit. So, yes, many areas many areas people who suffered from recent disasters are getting hit badly again."
World Vision's Aaron Aspi says while the government tried its best to warn people to move to higher ground the strength of the storm was too strong even for some evacuation centres.
"Big evacuation centres that were supposed to safeguard the evacuees were also hit hard by the storm. THere were also reports of evacuation centres like schools being washed away. So you can just imagine the horror the evacuees felt when they were supposed to be feeling safe inside the evacuation centre."
The humanitarian relief has already begun the United Nations saying the Philippine government has warned of more than 4 million people affected across 36 provinces.
The Australian government has pledged nearly $400,000 worth of emergency aid.
The United States says it's sending naval and aviation search and rescue equipment.
And the United Nations is sending emergency supplies and personnel to assist people in need of food, water, shelter and power.
The UN children's agency - UNICEF - estimates that almost two million children have been affected in the worst hit areas.
And it's preparing medical supplies and water purification and sanitation equipment that's expected to arrive in the Philippines from Tuesday.
But Care Australia's Adam Poulter says a top priority is to gain access to isolated areas to assess the damage and assist those who've been cut off.
"Trees are blocking roads, cell phone masts are down, power is out. It's still hard to get a picture of the immense destruction that's out there and particularly in the most remote, affected parts. The focus now for agencies like Care is on helping people to get emergency shelter, to get food and then to help them to recover to start replanting their fields but it's going to take many months and for some people many years to recover from this."
World Vision's Aaron Aspi says many people are still in shock and looking for missing people.
"Naturally Filippinos are more resilient because the Philippines is really Asia-Pacific's gateway for typhoons and we're also sitting in the Ring of Fire so there are lots of natural disasters here in our area. But we really try our best to be resillient and recover from one storm to another and hope for the best."
In Vietnam, Care Australia's Adam Poulter says authorites are well prepared and have evacuated hundreds of thousands of people.
But he says while the typhoon has weakened it's still a major storm that could cause extensive damage.
"It may even hit Hanoi the capital which obviously has a very large population which could be great concern. The other thing in Vietnam is they've also had their fair share of storms this year - about 14 - and in some of the areas that this is projected to hit people have faced three or four in the last month."