People wait behind a fence at the Tacloban airport on Thursday for an airlift to Manila in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda. Photo by Wolfgang Rattay, Reuters
MANILA - Six days after super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) swept through parts of the Philippines, scores of typhoon survivors were flown to Manila on Thursday.
The injured, sick and elderly were given priority in the queue to the planes, as Philippine and U.S. soldiers helped transport aid goods.
President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity and deployed hundreds of soldiers to control looting in Tacloban, a once-vibrant port city of 220,000 that is now a wasteland.
Many residents desperate to leave the city have gathered at the airport in the hopes of getting on a flight out.
International relief efforts have picked up, but many petrol station owners whose businesses were spared have refused to reopen, leaving little fuel for trucks needed to move supplies and medical teams around the devastated areas nearly a week after Typhoon Haiyan struck.
More the 544,600 people have been displaced and nearly 12 percent of the population affected, the United Nations said. But many areas still have not received aid.
Aquino has also stoked debate over the extent of the casualties, citing a much lower death toll than the 10,000 estimated by local authorities. Official confirmed deaths stood at 2,357 on Thursday, a figure aid workers expect to rise.