(NBC News) The most powerful storm ever to make landfall battered the Philippines with winds approaching 200 mph early Friday, killing at least four people and raising fears of widespread damage.

More than one million people fled in search of safety ahead of category-five super typhoon Haiyan, which caused mudslides, flash flooding and a storm surge with waves of up to 30 feet. One expert said that the storm’s winds had the potential to “obliterate poorly constructed homes.”

At least four people were killed, according to The Associated Press. But with the country’s lines of communication cut, officials feared the toll could rise dramatically.

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