In pictures: Deadly typhoon wreaks havoc in the Philippines

 
What could be one of the biggest storms in history slammed into the Philippines Friday morning, destroying homes and leaving many families cut off from the outside world.
 
Typhoon Haiyan swept through the middle of the country, with one of our Observers telling FRANCE 24 that many towns and cities had been badly hit by the storm, including Tacloban on the island of Leyte. At least three people have been killed, with the number of casualties expected to rise.
 
The category-five storm is already the strongest this year, and according to weather experts, it could be the biggest to have ever made landfall. Millions of people have been evacuated from their homes as winds measuring up to 195mph tore down power lines and left entire cities without power. Public transport across the country has also been severely affected, with hundreds of flight being cancelled.
 
Videos and images began appearing on social networking websites as soon as the storm made landfall. These photos posted by a Twitter user shows how powerful winds tore the roof from several nearby buildings in the city of Tacloban.
 
Photo uploaded onto Twitter by Ritchel M. Deleon
 
Photo uploaded onto Twitter by Ritchel M. Deleon
 
This video, uploaded onto Instagram, shows wind and rain beating down on the same city.
 
Video uploaded onto Istagram by Marcjan Maloon
 
One of our Observers told FRANCE 24 that many people who had tried contacting friends and relatives in badly-hit areas were unable to reach them. He uploaded a video that shows heavy winds battering trees and power lines in the city of Surigao, which is far to the south of Tacloban.
 
Video uploaded onto Instagram by Greg Santillan

"We have friends whose families are missing"

Glen Santillan is vacationing with friends in the city of Surigao, situated on the northeastern tip of the island of Mindanao.
 
This morning I saw very high waves, trees and electricity posts were falling. Mobile signals are very bad, and there's no way of communicating with people, especially in areas like Tacloban and Ormoc City. We have friends in those areas but unfortunately we're texting them and trying to call them but we can’t reach them. We have friends who told us members of their families are missing, and that their houses were blown away.
 
The government and the people were ready [in Surigao city]. It was expected that there would be flooding in low-lying areas so people had already been moved to higher ground.
 

"I've never experienced anything like this"

Jose Farrugia has been living in the Philippines since 2005. He's based in Cebu City, on the island of Cebu.
 
It started this morning at around 7am. We could hear the windows rattling and winds building up. There was trash flying around and the trees were swaying quite frantically. We lost electricity at around 9:30am, about an hour before things got crazy. We also lost water, and the mobile networks weren't very good. We got our power back at around 5:30pm, so around eight hours later. Communicatons are now back to normal here in Cebu city, but im not sure about other places.
 
I know someone on the island of Samar [Editor's note: Samar lies next to the island of Leyte, where the two aforementioned cities of Tacloban and Ormoc are both situated]. I tried reaching him awhile ago via text message and he hasn’t replied back. I also sent a message on facebook and didnt get any response.
 
The storm scared the hell out of me. Of course living in the Philippines we go through several tropical storms and typhoons every year, but I've never experienced anything like this.
 
Article written by France 24 journalist Andrew Hilliar (@andyhilliar).
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