The Philippine Red Cross estimates that more than 1,000 people have died in the coastal town of Tacloban in central Leyte province, and that another 200 are dead in Samar province.
"Probably the casualty figure will increase as we get more information from remote areas ... " said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF's Philippines representative.
"With some 36 provinces reported by the government to have been hit by the typhoon - the strongest ever to have made landfall anywhere in the world - we know that a significant number of children will have been badly affected," said Tomoo.
Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, head of the U.N. Disaster Coordination Team, has described scenes of total devastation, likening the damage to that seen in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Humanitarian needs in the Philippines will be massive. Some 1.7 million children are believed to be living in areas hit by the typhoon, known locally as "Yolanda." UNICEF staff already in the Philippines are being repositioned to deliver emergency aid. The first priorities are lifesaving interventions — clean water, medicines and nutrition supplies.
The country has now endured three major crises in just two months: armed conflict in Zamboanga, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol, and now, Super Typhoon Haiyan. Resources are stretched as UNICEF respond to all three emergencies. Please help UNICEF provide aid for children and families in the Philippines.