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Relief Efforts Gain Momentum in Philippines



Survivors of the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines more than a week ago flocked to ruined churches Sunday as the pace of international aid gained momentum.

Sunday services were a time of reflection for millions of Filipinos - many of them homeless - in a country where 80 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.

President Benigno Aquino called for patience and understanding as he toured some of the worst-hit areas in the central part of the country on Sunday.

Meanwhile, aid from various countries, including the United States is finding its way to more and more devastated communities. However, many remote areas badly in need of water and food have yet to be reached.

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit early on November 8, killed more than 3,600 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The death toll is expected to rise as many people are missing.



The first British air force aid flight arrived in Cebu on Saturday. The northern part of the island took a direct hit from Typhoon Haiyan.

Also, the head of the European Community Humanitarian office, Kristalina Georgieva, says aid from the European Union will exceed $25 million.

On Friday, helicopters from the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington began flying food, water and medical supplies to remote villages.

Meanwhile, Filipino-Americans are among those who have responded generously to appeals for help.

In a VOA interview, Philippines immigrant Teresa Descalzota said her five siblings in Iloilo province were struggling in the storm's aftermath. Descalzota is taking part in a relief effort at a Washington church to gather food and clothing for survivors.

While food and water are now available to many Filipinos in the central part of the country, hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of others are still homeless and without water, food and power, having received little or no assistance.

The flow of relief supplies has been hampered by wrecked roadways and gasoline shortages.

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