The United Nations has launched a $ 300m appeal to help victims of the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan amid concerns about delays in delivering relief aid to those who need it.
Typhoon Haiyan smashed into central Philippine islands last Friday, leaving at least 10,000 people feared dead and 673,000 others homeless.
Praising the international community’s response to Haiyan, Valerie Amos, the UN humanitarian chief, said in the capital Manila that more needed to be done to help the victims.
“We’ve just launched an action plan focusing on the areas of food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also protection of the most vulnerable with the government and I very much hope our donors will be generous,” she told reporters.
“That plan is for $ 301 million dollars,” Amos said, adding it was over and above other sums already pledged and did not include $ 25m that the UN’s central emergency response fund has made available.
“At this point in time it’s extremely difficult even to get a sense of what the immediate needs are because it is very difficult to get to some of the areas affected.”
Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay, reporting from Tacloban, one of the worst affected cities, said the humanitarian situation there was increasingly “becoming desperate”.
He said there “does not appear to be much relief work going on” but added that some military trucks were delivering some food and water.
“We haven’t seen government or non-government agencies helping in the search for those missing. There are still many bodies lying around on the streets and people having simply to walk past those bodies which are decaying in the sun,” he said.
Rain and strong winds were further adding to the logistic hassles caused by damage to roads, airports and seaports.
“Heavy downpours are adding to the misery across much of the central and southern Philippines. Some parts have seen 50 to 80mm of rain during the last 24 hours and they may see similar amounts over the next 24 hours,” Al Jazeera’s meteorologist Everton Fox said.
Foreign governments and international aid organisations meanwhile continued pledging tens of millions of dollars in emergency funds and supplies while several countries were sending warships.
The United States said the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, with 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft aboard, was heading to the Philippines to join 180 US Marines already on the ground.
Britain boosted its aid to $ 15.8m and sent a destroyer from Singapore, as well as a transport plane.
The United Arab Emirates, which has a large Filipino expatriate community, pledged $ 10m while Australia pledged $ 9.38m, with a team of medics set to leave on Wednesday.
Japan said it would supply $ 10m in grants to provide evacuees with emergency shelters and other assistance. It will also send a 40-strong military detachment.
Indonesia pledged $ 2m in cash and emergency supplies, with a Hercules aircraft set to depart Wednesday carrying food, medicines, water filters and generators.
China, where the typhoon killed several people, is to give $ 100,000 towards the aid effort. The state-run Global Times said a territorial row with the Philippines should not affect such decisions.
The UN children’s fund UNICEF sent a cargo plane carrying 66 tonnes of aid, including water purification systems, storage equipment and sanitation supplies. Doctors without Borders said it was sending 329 tons of medical and relief supplies on three cargo planes.