Warships assist with Filipino relief

Aid trucks have struggled to enter the city because of the stream of people and vehicles leaving.

This aerial photo shows typhoon devastation in Eastern Samar province, central Philippines on 11 November, 2013, four days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the country. Picure: AFP

TACLOBAN, Philippines - A US aircraft carrier and four US navy ships set sail for the Philippines on Tuesday to accelerate relief efforts after a typhoon killed an estimated 10,000 people in one coastal city alone, with fears the toll could rise sharply as rescuers reach more isolated towns.

The nuclear-powered George Washington should arrive in two to three days, the Pentagon said, confirming a Reuters report.

Filipino officials have been overwhelmed by the scale of Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore a path through islands in the central Philippines on Friday.

About 660,000 people have been displaced and many have no access to food, water or medicine, the United Nations said.

Rescue workers were trying to reach towns and villages on Tuesday that have been cut off, which could reveal the full extent of the loss of life and devastation from the disaster.

The arrival of the US carrier and its aircraft will accelerate the distribution of aid and ensure more injured survivors can be evacuated.

Britain will also send a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft, Prime Minister David Cameron said.

The HMS Daring left Singapore and expects to arrive in two or three days.

RELIEF EFFORTS INTENSIFYING

International relief efforts have begun to gather pace, with dozens of countries and organisations pledging tens of millions of dollars in aid.

Operations have been hampered because roads, airports and bridges were destroyed or covered in wreckage by surging waves and winds of 314 km/h

UN aid chief Valerie Amos released $25 million for aid relief on Monday from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

The Filipino government has set aside $432.97 million for rehabilitation.

Rescuers have yet to reach remote parts of the coast, such as Guiuan, a town in eastern Samar province with a population of 40,000 that was largely destroyed.

The damage to the coconut and rice growing region is expected to amount to more than $69 million.