SA rescue efforts underway in Philippines

Two SA organisations will support the operations. An EWN reporter is travelling with them.

A typhoon victim walks past land ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines on November 13, 2013. Picture: AFP.

MANILA , PHILIPPINES - A South African relief intervention in the Philippines will be reinforced later on Saturday as Rescue SA prepares to leave for a mission to the devastated country.

At the same time, thousands of Filipinos are heading into disaster struck areas in a bid to find their families.

An estimated 4,000 people have been killed and even more left homeless by Super Typhoon Haiyan which has severely damaged infrastructure in densely populated cities.

On Friday, aid organisation Gift of the Givers arrived in the capital of Manila to stock up on more supplies before traveling to the hardest-hit areas as part of its 10-day mission to the South East Asian nation.

The 20 member team will be boosted by 60 more volunteers from Rescue SA.

A trip to some of the most remote areas via boat is currently being negotiated.

The roads from Manila to the worst-affected city, Tacloban, have now been reopened with more relief teams scheduled to arrive in the country next week.

Roads leading to the capital's airport remain congested with thousands of people hoping to fly to remote villages where aid hasn't yet been distributed.

The teams will spend most of Saturday assessing the conditions in cities like Tacloban and some fishing villages where thousands still haven't received aid 10 days after Haiyan made landfall.

Normi Noehoe says her mother, three sisters and daughter are missing in the city of Cebu but she's confident they're still alive.

"Six or seven days without any communication from them. I heard there were no causalities but 90 percent of the houses were wipes out."

Much of the infrastructure in the affected areas has been destroyed, making traveling and distributing the aid a serious challenge.