The number of people in the Philippines who have been killed by Typhoon Bopha has nearly reached 650, the country's disaster chief told Al Jazeera.
Benito Ramos, the country's disaster chief in Manila, said that 647 bodies have been found and 780 people are still missing, including hundreds of fishermen.
Families and fishing companies reported losing contact with more than 300 fishermen at sea.
Ramos said the authorities were unprepared for the unprecedented weather in those areas worst affected, and that it was struggling to cope with the disaster.
"Right now, we have some international organisations and governments assisting us, but our supplies are still insufficient at this moment," he said.
The fishermen from southern General Santos city and nearby Sarangani province left a few days before Bopha hit the main southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday, causing deadly flash floods, Ramos said.
Ramos said the fishermen were headed to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and to the Pacific Ocean. He said there has been no contact from them for a week.
He said the coast guard, navy and fishing vessels have launched a search.
Rescuers continued searching for bodies or signs of life under tonnes of fallen trees and boulders in the worst-hit town of New Bataan, where rocks, mud and other rubble destroyed landmarks, making it doubly difficult to search places where houses once stood.
"This is a scale the Philippines has not previously seen, we’re talking about tens of thousands of homes destroyed across southeast Mindanao," Joe Curry of Catholic Relief Service told Al Jazeera.
"People live in fragile housing and when storms like this hit … it wipes out entire communities."