(TACLOBAN, Philippines) -- Compounding the myriad of problems in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines are difficulties in delivering aid to survivors in the port city of Tacloban even though there’s plenty of manpower and supplies on hand. Tacloban was probably the province hit hardest by Haiyan six days ago, with a huge death toll, thousands injured and scant food and drinking water.
However, gas station owners in the city are fearful of reopening as criminals run wild, which is keeping relief convoys from refueling so they can bring much-needed supplies to Tacloban and other regions wiped out by the typhoon. In fact, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez is simultaneously discouraging relief workers from entering his city while urging residents to seek shelter with relatives or strangers in other cities. Despite this dire situation, international groups are continuing to facilitate their efforts to help those in Tacloban and elsewhere.
The U.S. government is also stepping up attempts to bring aid into Tacloban. Military cargo jets are alternately carrying in supplies and evacuating those in greatest need of assistance. Meanwhile, it’s expected that American service personnel on the ground in the Philippines will expand from 300 to 1,000 by week’s end.
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