Disaster official: 'Nearly all houses in Tacloban toppled'

In the central Philippines, nearly all houses in Tacloban in Leyte province with a population of about 220,000, were toppled and casualties were feared to be massive, a disaster official said.

A house is engulfed by the storm. Credit: AP Photo/Nelson Salting

"Almost all houses were destroyed, many are totally damaged. Only a few houses are left standing, but with partial damages," Major Rey Balido, a spokesman for the national disaster agency said.

"Our disaster officials can't give a number on casualties yet, the communication lines are down," Major Balido said.

"But I asked our teams to send us even a crude body count, they are just using a satellite phone and the signal is poor."

The typhoon has triggered landslides and floods and knocked out power and communications across a number of islands.

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President: Typhoon killed 2,000

The president of the Philippines has said he believes the much-publicised figure of 10,000 deaths from the typhoon may be too high. President Benigno Aquino III told CNN his government was working on an estimate of 2,000-2,500 deaths.