Police in the Philippines say they fear 10,000 people may have died in the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan.

The Philippine government has so far only confirmed the death of several hundred people after the storm struck.

But regional police chief Elmer Soria said he was told by the provincial governor of Leyte that there were about 10,000 deaths on the eastern island alone, reports the BBC.

Hundreds of thousands of people are reported displaced from their homes.

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports that the scene in the city of Tacloban on Leyte island is one of utter devastation.

Houses in Leyte’s capital have been flattened by the massive storm surge that accompanied Typhoon Haiyan.

There’s no clean water, no electricity and very little food.

City officials said they were struggling to distribute aid and that looting was widespread.

Our correspondent says hundreds of people are at the airport, itself badly damaged, trying to get on a flight out of Tacloban.

Philippine Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says the scale of the relief operation that is now required is overwhelming, with some places described as a wasteland of mud and debris.

Tecson Lim, city administrator of Tacloban in north east of Leyte, told the Associated Press that the death toll in the city alone “could go up to 10,000”.

Meanwhile police chief Elmer Soria told Reuters about 70% to 80% of the area in the path of the storm in Leyte province was destroyed.

He reportedly said most of the deaths were from drowning or collapsed buildings.

Typhoon Haiyan – one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall – swept through six central Philippine islands?on Friday, wiping away homes.

It brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph), with waves as high as 15m (45ft), bringing up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places.

The Pentagon has announced it is providing the Philippines with naval and aviation resources to help with humanitarian relief efforts.

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