Filipinos here keeping vigil after typhoon Haiyan whips the Philippines

Debris float on a flooded road as strong winds and rain continue to batter buildings after Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban city, Leyte province in this still image from video November 8, 2013.

At least 10 Filipinos The Straits Times spoke to at Lucky Plaza yesterday said they were either trying frantically to contact relatives or remit money to them, with some reduced to tears.

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MANILA (AFP) - One of the most intense typhoons on record whipped the Philippines Friday, killing three people and terrifying millions as monster winds tore roofs off buildings and giant waves washed away flimsy homes.

Update 3.11pm: Super Typhoon Haiyan smashed into coastal communities on the central island of Samar, about 600 kilometres (370 miles) southeast of Manila, before dawn on Friday with maximum sustained winds of about 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour.

"We've had reports of uprooted trees, very strong winds... and houses made of light materials being damaged," Philippine Red Cross chief Gwendolyn Pang told AFP on Friday afternoon as Haiyan swept across the archipelago's central and southern islands.

The government said three people had been confirmed killed and another man was missing after he fell off a gangplank in the central port of Cebu.

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