Thoughts and prayers to all affected. I remember the disruption Yasi caused but it was nothing on this scale.
Unconfirmed reports suggest at least 10,000 people are dead in the central Philippines province of Leyte after Typhoon Haiyan hit the region.
A senior police official says about 70 to 80 per cent of the province was destroyed by the super storm, one of the most powerful on record.
"We had a meeting last night with the governor and the other officials," said regional police director, Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria.
"The governor said based on their estimate, 10,000 died."
Witnesses and officials described chaotic scenes in Leyte's capital Tacloban, a coastal city of 220,000 about 580 kilometres south-east of Manila, with hundreds of bodies piled on the sides of roads and pinned under wrecked houses.
The Red Cross had earlier estimated more than 1,000 people had been killed across the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon, one of the most powerful to make landfall on record.
Among the dead is former Australian priest Kevin Lee, who had been a whistleblower about child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
Kevin Lee spoke to Lateline in November 2012 about what he claimed was a "system of cover-ups" within the Catholic Church to hide child sexual abuse.
It is believed the 50-year-old had been living in the Philippines with his Filipino wife and they had just had their first child.
Last year Mr Lee was removed from his parish responsibilities in western Sydney after admitting to marrying in secret.
He spoke out about abuse in the Catholic Church in the Four Corners program Unholy Silence, which aired on ABC1 last year.
Mr Lee also wrote a book about the abuse he became aware of during his time as a priest, but it was only posted online rather than published because some of the accused are yet to face court.
Vietnam braces for super typhoon
A much weaker Haiyan is now bearing down on Vietnam, where more than 600,000 people have been evacuated.
The typhoon is expected to make landfall tomorrow morning after changing course, which has prompted mass evacuations in northern Nghe An province about 230 kilometres from the capital Hanoi.
However, many of the estimated 200,000 evacuated in four central provinces on Saturday have been allowed to return to their homes.
Haiyan "is quickly moving north and north-west, travelling at a speed of up to 35 kilometres per hour", the country's weather bureau said in a statement.
The weather system has weakened over the South China Sea and is expected to hit as a weaker category one storm, meteorologists added.
The typhoon's epicentre is expected to make landfall around 7am Monday local time (11am Monday AEDT), with winds of more than 70 kilometres per hour.
VIDEO: Footage of destruction in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan hits region (ABC News)
Preparations for Typhoon Haiyan have already claimed four lives in Vietnam, according to aid organisation CARE.
"Four deaths have been reported because of the preparatory work, that people were fixing their roofs and they fell off," said CARE's country director Claudia Futterknecht.
Director of Oxfam in Vietnam, Andy Baker, says the government is issuing mobile phone alerts to keep people updated about the typhoon's progress.
"In Hanoi at the moment we have got rain showers but no wind to speak of as yet. We have heard that in other parts of the country, there are very strong winds and high levels of rainfall," he said.
"[The typhoon] is running parallel to the coast already and will be for most of today.
"People don't seem to be particularly concerned or worried but that may change as the storm hits."
Englishman Peter Rosenfeld is in a hotel in the east coast city of Da Nang, which is a popular tourist spot.
He says buildings there have been boarded up with whatever material is at hand to prepare for the storm.
"The streets are completely deserted and there are ... bin bags blasting down the streets at the moment that suggest the winds are getting up," he said.
Philippines assesses damage
Among the worst-hit areas in the Philippines are the eastern island of Leyte and the coastal city of Tacloban, which saw buildings flattened in a storm surge.
First reports said 100 bodies had been found there, with 200 more deaths in Samar province.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and aid agencies are struggling to reach the worst-affected areas.