The United Nations admitted Thursday that its response to the typhoon disaster in the Philippines had been too slow.
MANILA - The United Nations admitted Thursday that its response to the typhoon disaster in the Philippines had been too slow, amid reports of hunger and thirst among desperate survivors.
The UN's humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said the scale of the disaster and the logistics challenges it posed meant that six days on from the storm, some places remained without help.
"There are still areas that we have not been able to get to where people are in desperate need," she told reporters in Manila "I very much hope that over the next 48 hours that that will change significantly."
"I do feel that we have let people down."
Criticism is growing over the pace of aid to Tacloban and other areas that were splintered by Typhoon Haiyan when it swept through the central Philippines last Friday.
Bodies still litter the streets of Tacloban, while others lie putrefying in body bags outside the broken city hall, awaiting mass burials.
Thousands of desperate survivors are clamouring to get out of a place where clean drinking water is in short supply and many have no shelter.
Workers load a portable power generator given by World Food Programme for victims. PHOTO/AFP
This was at the Cargo Terminal Subang Airport, on the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur on November 12, 2013. PHOTO/AFP
A worker walks past portable water pillow tanks given by World Food Programme for victims. PHOTO/AFP
"The situation is dismal. Those who have been able to leave have done so. Many more are trying. People are extremely desperate for help," Amos told reporters in Manila.
"We need to get assistance to them now. They are already saying it has taken too long to arrive. Ensuring a faster delivery is our... immediate priority."
However, she added: "There are thousands (of them) but we would never make the claim that we would be able to get to everyone."
Amos, who visited Tacloban on Wednesday to see the scale of the disaster, said her staff felt frustrated that supplies were stuck in the capital Manila.
The Philippines' shaky infrastructure took a battering in Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall.
Many roads were left impassable, cluttered by debris from broken buildings that were destroyed when the ocean surged ashore.
The Philippines government said Wednesday that all roads were passable, but relief was still choked on Thursday, with fears over security after earlier attacks on aid convoys and widespread looting.
"Part of the job I have is to recognise the challenges we face but obviously (also) overcome those challenges and we have not been able to do that fast enough," conceded Amos.
"There are very good reasons for that but the fact that there are good reasons for that isn't enough. I think members of the government I met in the last few days feel exactly the same way."
Philippines army soldiers and workers load an army truck with bags of rice for typhoon survivors. PHOTO/AFP
Typhoon victims wait for an opportunity to board an army plane to leave Tacloban. PHOTO/AFP
A survivor holds her sleeping daughter as they wait for a chance to board an army plane to leave Tacloban. PHOTO/AFP
A resident walks amongst the debris around his destroyed house in Palo town. PHOTO/AFP
Residents try to hitch hike along a road with destroyed coconut trees in Palo town. PHOTO/AFP
Military personnel carry a woman to a medical station after she collapsed while queueing up for flights by military C-130 planes out of the airport in Tacloban. PHOTO/AFP
A child cries as residents beg authorities for seats on flights by military C-130 planes. PHOTO/AFP
Residents queue up for flights by military C-130 planes out of the airport in Tacloban. PHOTO/AFP
A military personnel carries a newly-born baby to a military C-130 for flight out at the airport in Tacloban. PHOTO/AFP
South Korean military craft crews walk near two South Korean Air Force C-130 cargo planes carrying relief goods before they leave for Tacloban in Philippines. PHOTO/AFP
A typhoon victim holds a tissue on her mouth to block the smell of dead corpses in Tacloban. PHOTO/AFP
Faster aid to typhoon victims needed, says UN