The UK is to provide £6 million in emergency aid to the Philippines after parts of the country were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Up to 10,000 people are believed to have killed in one city alone as wind speeds of up to 170mph flattened Tacloban, the provincial capital of the hardest hit island Leyte.
Hundreds or possibly thousands more are feared dead elsewhere in the country. Savage winds have caused extensive flooding and homes, schools and airports to be washed away.
Many people have been buried people under rubble and millions have been left homeless.
The Prime Minister has offered the Philippines president, Benigno Aquino III, the UK's full support in dealing with the aftermath of the typhoon, one of the most powerful storms on record.
“The Prime Minister said that our thoughts are with all those affected, especially those who have lost loved ones,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
“This weekend we announced a package of £6 million emergency humanitarian support to help more than 500,000 people affected by the storm.
“We have also sent four humanitarian experts to the Philippines to assist three advisers already in the country helping to coordinate the international response.”
Aid agencies already in the country say they are currently struggling to reach the worst-affected areas.
Carin van der Hor, of international development organisation Plan, said the level of destruction caused by the typhoon is “unimaginable”.
“There are now thousands of families in evacuation centres who have been forced out of their homes and are in desperate need of shelter, clean water and medicine. It's also vital that debris is cleared to make roads passable and that communication is restored as soon as possible,” she said.
“This is a disaster of the highest magnitude that is potentially the worst natural disaster the country has ever experienced.
“The people of the Philippines endure a cycle of typhoons, floods, earthquakes and landslides, but we haven't seen anything as ferocious as this typhoon before.”
Typhoon Haiyan is now charging across the South China Sea towards the north eastern coast of Vietnam, where it is expected to make landfall shortly after midnight.
Tourists and locals are bracing themselves for impact with the capital Hanoi and the popular destination of Halong Bay, both expected to be in the storm’s path.
More than 100,000 Britons visit Vietnam every year. The Foreign Office is advising travellers to follow advice from local authorities, and has teams on standby in Hue and Da Nang to assist any British nationals.
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