The Aftermath in the Philippines From Super Typhoon Haiyan Is Catastrophic

Looting and lawlessness have resulted from a lack of food and water due to typhoon.

Destroyed and damaged houses in the city of Tacloban, in the central Philippines are seen on Nov. 11, 2013.
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Looting and lawlessness have resulted from a lack of food and water due to typhoon.

Super Typhoon Haiyan has hit Vietnam, and been downgraded to a tropical storm, but the mammoth storm has left catastrophic damage to the Philippines, where it hit Friday. The latest reports estimate that many thousands may have died as a result of the storm.

According to CBS News more than 4 million people have been affected by the super typhoon in the Philippines, where those spared the storm's wrath now struggle to survive. Food, shelter and clean drinking water have become a rare commodity due to the damage inflicted by the storm.

CNN reporter Ivan Watson described the scene of one the cities struck by Haiyan.

[READ: Super Typhoon Haiyan Pelts The Philippines With 235-mph Winds]

"Then Tacloban itself – it looked completely devastated. It was as if a giant hand had come from the sky and just crushed it," he said. "Entire forests of palm trees on hilltops had been flattened by the sheer force of the storm."

The city of Tacloban, capital of the Leyte province, was once home to more than 200,000 people but has now been completely leveled Watson told CNN.

Leyte has experienced immense loss of life. Officials estimate at least 10,000 people were killed in that province alone, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Six of the nation's 7,000 islands bore the brunt of the storm including Cebu, Samar and Leyte.

The U.N. reports more than 600,000 people have been displaced due to the storm and the majority of those individuals have no access to food or medicine.

[ALSO: The Philippines Prepares For the Biggest Super Typhoon of the Year]

Haiyan is one of the strongest typhoons to ever reach land and is believed to have destroyed about 80 percent of the structures in its path and resulted in more than $69 million in damages, according to a Citi Research report.

While the winds were some of the highest ever in recorded history, it was storm surge – sometimes as high as 10 feet – that caused a large amount of structural damage. It swept through the cities and villages carrying many individuals far from their homes and even out to sea.

Rescue efforts have been impeded by roads covered with debris and destroyed bridges.

"The United States is already providing significant humanitarian assistance, and we stand ready to further assist the government's relief and recovery efforts," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of people affected by this devastating storm."

Military ships and air crafts have been deployed to assist the Philippines in it's search and rescue efforts. The U.S. military has also sent water, generators and soldiers to assist in the most catastrophic areas.

Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippines Red Cross told CBS that many aid workers were shocked by the number of fatalities that have already been determined..

Many are criticizing the Philippine government for not being more prepared for the storm. And though hundreds of thousands individuals were evacuated before the storm arrived, schools, churches and government buildings that doubled as evacuation centers during the typhoon, proved to be inefficient at best.

Looting and widespread lawlessness are also added complications to the damage the typhoon left in its path. What little that is left that wasn't destroyed has become a target for those in a desperate state of survival, AFP reported

"I am afraid that in one week, people will be killing from hunger," Philippine secondary school teacher Andrew Pomeda, told BBC on Sunday.

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