UN says Philippines typhoon death toll to rise

The UN said Saturday that it expected the provisional 1,200 death toll from a super typhoon that hit the Philippines to rise and is sending emergency supplies to the stricken country.

UN aid teams were also ordered sent from other countries as the Philippines Red Cross said 1,200 people are feared to have been killed by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

"Sadly, it is likely that this figure will rise," UN humanitarian coordinator Valerie Amos said in a statement.

"The government estimates that some 4.3 million people are affected, across 36 provinces, and initial assessments show that thousands of homes have been destroyed, roads are impassable and people need food, water, shelter and power," Amos added.

"As more areas are reached, we expect to get a more detailed picture of the scale of destruction and the impact on families."

Members of a UN Disaster and Assessment Coordination team arrived on Saturday in Tacloban, one of the worst affected areas in Leyte province.

"The United Nations remains on standby to mobilize any support that the people of the Philippines require from the international community," Amos said.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon is "deeply saddened by the extensive loss of life" and devastation caused by Haiyan, said the UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

UN humanitarian agencies will "respond rapidly to help people in need," Ban was quoted as saying.

UNICEF, the UN children's agency, has already prepared 60 tonnes of health, medical and shelter equipment from a supply base in Copenhagen which is expected to arrive in the Philippines on Tuesday.

The agency is also arranging for water purification and storage equipment and sanitation supplies to be flown from Europe and Asia to Manila, a UNICEF statement said.

It is sending extra aid workers to the Philippines.

The agency said it estimates that some 1.7 million children were affected in the areas worst hit by the typhoon.

"We know that a significant number of children will have been badly affected," said UNICEF's representative in the Philippines Tomoo Hozumi.

tw/rcw