News National Australian among Philippines storm dead

Australian among Philippines storm dead

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An Australian man is among the hundreds killed by a super typhoon in the Philippines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed the death of a 50-year-old NSW man in Typhoon Haiyan.

“Consular officials are providing assistance to his family,” a DFAT spokesperson said.

It’s believed the man was former Australian priest Kevin Lee but DFAT has declined to confirm his identity.

Mr Lee, a whistleblower about child sex abuse in the Catholic church, has been living in the Philippines with his wife.

Officials fear the death toll in the Philippines could reach 10,000 people after Haiyan tore into the eastern islands of Leyte and Samar on Friday.

Sustained winds of around 315km/h made it the strongest typhoon in the world this year and one of the most intense ever to hit land.

The Abbott government has pledged nearly $400,000 worth of emergency aid to devastated communities and says it stands ready to do more.

DFAT says it is monitoring the situation closely.

“We are working with our partners, including in the Philippine government, to obtain more information on the extent of damage caused,” the spokesperson said.

Two Australian disaster experts are already on the ground assisting the Philippine government and United Nations to assess needs.

DFAT says Australians concerned for the welfare of family and friends in the region should first attempt to contact them directly.

If unsuccessful, they should call DFAT’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 or +612 6261 3305.