Relief operations in this typhoon-devastated region of the Philippines picked up pace today, but still only minimal amounts of water, food and medical supplies were making it to increasingly desperate survivors in the hardest-hit areas.
Aviation authorities said two more airports in the region had reopened, allowing for more aid flights.
U.S. Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy said that later Wednesday his troops would install equipment at Tacloban airport to allow planes to land at night. Tacloban city was almost completely destroyed in Friday’s typhoon and has become the main relief hub.
A Norwegian ship carrying supplies left from Manila, while an Australian air force transport plane took off from Canberra carrying a medical team. British and American navy vessels are also en route to the region.
The damaged airport on Tacloban, a coastal city of 220,000, houses makeshift clinics and thousands of people looking for a flight out. A doctor here said supplies of antibiotics and anesthetics arrived Tuesday for the first time.
The official toll from a national disaster agency rose to 1, 883 on Tuesday. President Benigno Aquino III told CNN in a televised interview that the toll could be closer to 2,000 or 2,500, lower than an earlier estimate from two officials on the ground who said they feared as many as 10,000 might be dead.