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International Rescue, Relief Operations Under Way in Central Philippines

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The United Nations, Australia, the United States and a host of Southeast Asian nations have launched relief operations in the central Philippines, four days after one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded laid waste to much of the region.

Speaking Monday in New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced condolences and support for the people of the Philippines. He said 10 million people have been impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the coastal city of Tacloban head-on Friday and then carved a deadly swath westward through five more provinces. Authorities say as many as 10,000 people may have perished.

Mr. Ban said he spoke with Philippine President Benigno Aquino, and said food and relief agencies already have ramped up operations. He spoke as the U.S. military and the Australian government deployed supplies and rescue personnel to Tacloban and surrounding areas.

Photographs and video circulating Monday showed hundreds of people returning from the hills around Tacloban, only to find mounds of wreckage where their homes had stood in the once-thriving city of 220,000 residents.



Other amateur footage showed streets that still are strewn with decomposing bodies, and dazed residents slogging through flattened neighborhoods looking for signs of life.

The Manila government was trying Monday to airlift military and civilian police from nearby Cebu province to Tacloban to restore and maintain order.

But Western news reports say progress has been slowed by massive infrastructure damage in and near Tacloban, where many roadways have disappeared and airport runways are still cluttered with debris.

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