The death toll from super typhoon Yolanda continues to climb, reaching 5,235 as of Saturday, two weeks after the powerful howler flattened entire towns in several provinces.
The number of casualties surpassed the 5,100 deaths recorded during the flashflood that rampaged through communities in Ormoc City in Leyte province in 1990.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (Ndrrmc) said 1,613 people remain missing.
In Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province, 1,727 people have been confirmed dead. Another 451 remain missing.
The typhoon has triggered a giant, international aid effort, with dozens of countries and relief organizations rushing to deliver food, water and health services to more than four million people who lost their homes.
However, United Nations (UN) humanitarian chief Valerie Amos warned that the world was still not responding fast enough.
“Much more needs to be done. Food, clean water and shelter remain the top priorities,” Amos said as a UN appeal for funds was raised from $301 million to $348 million.
In the coastal city of Tacloban, survivors continued to complain about a lack of help.
“There is no steady supply of relief goods. It comes in trickles,” said Maribel Senase, 41, as she held a baby and her husband sawed wood near their shattered home.
Senase, who has four children, said her family had received rice, dried fish and sardines, but they remained hungry.
The World Bank on Friday added $480 million in emergency aid to the Philippines, taking its support to nearly $1 billion, in an effort to spur efforts to rebuild homes and infrastructure.
The Asian Development Bank also last week offered $500 million concessionary loans.
The United States military has performed the highest-profile role in the relief effort, sending an aircraft carrier that arrived six days after the disaster which finally allowed relief supplies to start reaching isolated communities.
Japan also sent more than 1,000 troops aboard three vessels that arrived on Thursday night, in what is the biggest overseas deployment of the country’s military since its defeat in World War II nearly 70 years ago.
China, which is embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute with the Philippines, dispatched a 300-bed hospital ship, while Australia, Britain and Indonesia are among many other nations to have also sent military support.
Anthony Vargas, AFP