A resident walks past high waves pounding the sea wall amidst strong winds as Typhoon Haiyan hit the city of Legaspi, Albay province, south of Manila. One of the most intense typhoons on record whipped the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013.
As one of the strongest storms on record rages through the Philippines, the disaster relief effort was still in its infancy Friday.
Typhoon Haiyan, which weather officials say dwarfs the power of Hurricane Katrina, is projected to cause major damage and has killed at least four people and forced nearly 700,000 residents from their homes.
Haiyan could potentially effect more than 10 million people due to its ferocity and size, according to American Red Cross estimates.
"It covers a land area the size of India," Richard Walden of Operation USA told NBC4.
Because the storm’s powerful winds have knocked out power to many parts of the country, disaster relief groups are having a difficult time getting information.
"It's very tough because you can't get ahold of the people you need to get ahold of," said Walden.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Philippines,” said Monica Diaz with the American Red Cross. “We’ll be there to help in any way we can.”
But they can’t help until the Philippines asks for their help, which they haven’t, Diaz said.
Right now, Diaz said the Red Cross is “watching and waiting, just like everybody else.”
Philippines President Benigno Aquino III assured the public of what he called war-like preparations, with three C-130 air force cargo planes, 32 military helicopters and planes on standby, along with 20 navy ships.
The Philippines is still recovering from a magnitude-7.2 earthquake that shook the island country and killed almost 150 people last month.
Since the earthquake, thousands of citizens have been camped in tents and makeshift structures that offer little protection from hurricane-force winds.
Operation USA is asking the public for donations of cash and bulk supplies.
Donate at the Operatoin USA website or, for smaller cash donations, text AID to 50555.
Checks can be mailed to Operation USA at P.O. Box 36188, Los Angeles, CA 90031-0188.
Companies who wish to donate supplies should call 1-800-678-7255.
The Red Cross of America is also calling on the public to help with the relief effort.
To donate to relief in the Philippines, mail in this form from the Red Cross’ website or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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