Aid Floods Into Philippines as Disaster Tally Rises

Logjams still exist despite thousands of U.S. troops there, en route.

Survivors struggle to receive relief goods from a private group in typhoon hit Tacloban, Leyte province, central Philippines Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.
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International aid continues to flood into the Philippines islands just over a week after the unprecedented Typhoon Haiyan tore through, where it has encountered logjams that prevent the relief from getting to all of those who need it most.

Roughly 1,000 U.S. service members are now operating in the Philippines under "Task Force 505," set up in Manila to replace the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade which had served as the initial quick-response U.S. presence there. The task force is coordinating the series of ships – including the USS George Washington carrier group – that have arrived over the last week, as well as the efforts of the U.S. Department of State and USAID. An additional 1,000 Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are expected to arrive by Wednesday or Thursday.

[READ: U.S. General in Philippines Lashes Out at Claims of Lawlessness]


The World Bank announced Monday it would provide a $500 million loan to accompany disaster experts to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Philippines. The international monetary organization is working with federal departments there, including defense, finance and social welfare and development as they continue their work after the devastating storm.

"Given the scale of this disaster, the country will need a long-term reconstruction plan. We can bring lessons learned from our work in reconstruction after disasters hit Aceh, Haiti, and other areas that might be helpful in the Philippines," said Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank's vice president for East Asia Pacific.

Damaged houses lie in a flooded area in this aerial photo taken from a Philippine Air Force helicopter in typhoon-ravaged Leyte province, central Philippines Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. (Aaron Favila/AP)

"Remote sensing images are being obtained for use by the assessment team in geo-mapping activities to help determine the cost of the destruction," he said, according to a release.

The United Nations has documented some of the difficulties in getting to the most hard-hit regions, reports NBC News.

[PHOTOS: Philippines Desperate for Aid After Typhoon Haiyan]

A young Filipino takes a shower at a school turned into a temporary shelter for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban, Philippines, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. (Dita Alangkara/AP)

"As of now, personally, I am not so sure that we've reached every single portion of the territory where people are in need of aid," he told NBC. "And, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised that unfortunately that there might still be, as I'm speaking to you, day 11 of this disaster, there might be still very isolated islands."

The Philippine government estimates almost 4,000 are confirmed to have died from the storm and its aftereffects. Roughly 1,600 remain missing and more than 18,000 are injured.

More than half a million homes have been destroyed. The government is working to address more than 776,000 families who are not yet in one of the 1,550 evacuation centers. Roughly 75,000 families have made it to one of the centers.

The damage so far is believed to exceed $238 million.

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