Typhoon Yutu tracker LIVE: Strongest storm in CENTURY – Philippines, Taiwan, Japan BRACE

4.45pm: Number of official injured remains unknown

Official estimates of the number of injured people on Saipan and Tinian have yet to be confirmed, with rescue efforts still underway.

Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the islands’ delegate to US Congress, said: “Extensive damage to critical infrastructure on Saipan and Tinian has left the Commonwealth devastated with many families displaced.

“There’s a lot of damage and destruction. It’s like a small war just passed through.

“It’s going to take weeks probably to get electricity back to everybody.”

Mr Sablan said support had been already offered by US Congress.

He added: “We’re surviving, we’ll get through this — we are a resilient people — but it’s just huge.

“We need America’s prayers, and we need help, and I don’t doubt that we will get help. Thank you, America, for always being there for us.”

4.40pm: Yutu ‘maintains strength’ as it churns over Philippine Sea

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGSA) said Yutu has “maintained its strength” as it continues west northwest towards Taiwan and the Philippines.

Yutu will close in on the Philippines and Taiwan next Tuesday but is forecast to weaken over the next 24 hours.

Category 5 typhoon Yutu was churning over open water about 206 miles west-northwest of Titian, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) at 4pm BST.

The tropical cyclone is still a category 5 storm and was packing winds of 161mph.