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Aid slowly arrives in Philippines, survivors turn to looting

Survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan at the coastal village of Capiz in the central Philippines carry sacks containing relief goods delivered via helicopter by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Nov. 11, 2013. GETTY IMAGES/ AFP PHOTO /Tara Yap.

Five days after a deadly typhoon tore through parts of the Philippines, aid has been slowly trickling into the region from around the world.

Aid workers from Belgium are inspecting supplies before they are shipped to Tacloban, one of the most severely devastated regions.

From Belgium to Indonesia, countries are offering aid and support to the Philippines where the scale of the disaster has overwhelmed the government there.

More than 12 tons of supplies are loaded onto military planes in Jakarta and include food, water, blankets, generators and medical supplies.

Logistical problems – including blocked roads and inoperable airports- are making the aid delivery difficult.

More than 670,000 people have been displaced by the disaster  with no access to food, water or medical supplies. Circumstances have become dire.

“We don’t have a house anymore,” one person told Reuters.

“The smell is overpowering. There are so many dead bodies that have not been picked up.”

Others are taking matters into their own hands. One group of residents dug up and smashed an underground pipe so they could drink the water in it.

“It’s really very difficult because we source our water from an underground pipe that we have smashed,” said Christopher Dorano, 38, who lived in a fishing village near the airport.

“We don’t know if it’s safe. We need to boil it. But at least we have something. It’s really difficult and unsafe because there have been a lot of people who have died here.”

The lack of basic supplies has caused yet more problems, including looting, which has become rampant as desperation heightens.

Soldiers are patrolling areas where a group of looters have been firing weapons.

Tacloban officials say since the city’s warehouses have been emptied, looters are now entering homes and dwellings.

Canadians who want to donate through the Red Cross can do so via redcross.ca and designate typhoon Haiyan. They can also donate $5 by texting redcross at 30333.

Canadians needing urgent consular help following Typhoon Haiyan can email sos@international.gc.ca or call collect 613-996-8885.

The federal government has set up phone numbers for Canadians looking for information on relatives and friends who may have been caught in the affected areas. They are 1-800-387-3124 or 613-996-8885.