Aid agencies mobilise for emergency
Aid agencies have launched an emergency appeal to get food, water and shelter to a "staggering" number of people in need of help following the devastating Philippines typhoon.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), made up of 14 leading UK aid charities, including the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children, urged the British public to donate as much as they can to the appeal.
Hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed by the typhoon which hit the south east Asian nation four days ago, with the death toll expected to rise to more than 10,000.
The DEC warned that roads had been made impassable, bridges destroyed and airports put out of action, severely hampering relief efforts. In Tacloban City, on the east coast, the destruction is "reminiscent" of the Boxing Day tsunami, it said.
"There is a staggering number of people who need our help at the moment," DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed told BBC Breakfast.
"The priority at the moment is reaching those in remote areas. We are obviously seeing pictures of people who have already been reached and those images that are before us are really staggering.
"But we also have to think of those in remote islands, in remote villages, where we are unable to see what their conditions are.
"The priority, of course, is to reach those. The second is to make sure that we get food, water and shelter to them.
"It is a huge task but it is possible and we need help as soon as possible. We are urging people to log on to our website and help in any way that they can."
The urgent appeal comes as the death toll from the typhoon - thought to be the strongest to make landfall - was expected to rise with estimates of more than 10 million left in need of aid .
The DEC brings 14 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis. All of its members are supporting the appeal and 13 of the 14 are responding either directly or through partner organisations.
The UK is deploying a Royal Navy warship and donating £10 million of humanitarian assistance in aid for the victims, Prime Minister David Cameron said.
Britain will also deploy RAF military transport aircraft to aid recovery efforts, earmarking at least one C-17 cargo plane to move humanitarian aid and large equipment.
Meanwhile, Australia announced assistance of 10 million Australian dollars (£5.8 million) and the US government is organising emergency shipments of critically needed material and issuing an immediate 100,000 US dollars (£62,000) for relief efforts.
Japan said it will fly a relief team over to the ravaged country and Taiwan is sending 200,000 US dollars (£125,000) in aid.
The United Nations World Food Programme has also allocated two million US dollars (£1.25 million) and Unicef is sending emergency supplies.
:: To make a donation to the DEC Philippines Crisis Appeal, visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.
Tanya Barron, chief executive of children's charity and DEC member Plan UK, said: "We've worked in the Philippines for 50 years and our staff there are telling us this is the worst disaster they've ever experienced.
"The sheer scale of the destruction is only now becoming apparent. Extra teams have been flown in from around the world to assist so that we can quickly deliver aid to those who need it most.
"Since children are the most vulnerable in disaster situations, our efforts are focusing on them, including girls, who often bear the brunt of such emergencies and are especially at risk from harm."
Mr Saeed said that, although many of the aid organisations had been working in the Philippines for a number of years, they were not prepared for the scale of the catastrophe.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "Many agencies had been prepared for this, they knew that the storm was coming and they had aid locally.
"But what we weren't prepared for was the intensity of the storm and the complete devastation it has caused in its wake.
"Of course now we have to prioritise the needs on the ground and unfortunately there are 10,000 people that have been killed and hundreds of thousands of people who need food, medicine and water now."
He added: "Ten million people are in desperate need now so whatever injection of funds we can get would obviously help to save lives."