Almost half a million people have been made homeless by Typhoon Haiyan which devastated the Phillipines yesterday, killing approximately 10,000 people.

According to the country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 405,503 people were forced into 1,425 emergency evacuation centres.

Relief agencies have called for food, water, medicines and tarpaulins for the homeless.

Relief efforts in the country are currently stretched, after a 7.2 magnitude quake struck the central Bohol province last month.

Countries and organisations including the US, UK, EU and Australia have all pledged aid. The UK rapid response facility is set to provide £5 million in aid and a £600,000 shipment of emergency equipment.

The World Food Programme said it was airlifting 40 tonnes of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed 120,000 people for a day, as well as emergency supplies and communications equipment.

About $100,000 (£62,496) will be provided by the US government for health, water and sanitation support.

Many refugees had already fled from the areas worst affected, including the Leyte, Eastern Samar, Western and Central Visayas, Bicol and Northern Mindanao regions, when the typhoon struck.

The hurricane was among the strongest ever recorded to make landfall, and winds reached 195 miles (313 km) per hour with gusts of up to 235 mph (378 kph).

In the eastern city of Tacloban, capital of Leyte province, homes, schools, and part of an airport were destroyed. Many were destroyed by a 3 metre (10ft) storm surge of water that accompanied the hurricane.

There is no electricity there, no clean water and little food, and emergency services are still searching for bodies.

Hundreds are reportedly at the city's airport, desperate to escape.

'Like a Tsunami'

After flying over the devastated area, the country's interior minister, Mar Roxas, said that the scale of the relief operation now required was overwhelming.

"From a helicopter, you can see the extent of devastation. From the shore and moving a kilometre inland, there are no structures standing. It was like a tsunami," he told Reuters news agency.

"I don't know how to describe what I saw. It's horrific."

Tecson Lim, city administrator of Tacloban, said that the death toll in the city alone "could go up to 10,000".

There were reports of widespread looting, as survivors struggled to find food and water.

"People are walking like zombies looking for food," Jenny Chu, a medical student in Leyte told Reuters. "It's like a movie."

The hurricane is now approaching Vietnam, where 600,000 people have been evacuated from areas in its path. It is expected to make landfall south of Hanoi on Monday afternoon local time, between 3pm and 9pm GMT.