Reports of looting and fighting have increased fear and panic among survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
With rumours of escaped prisoners and armed rebels, police have begun patrolling the streets.
Troops have been deployed in a bid to maintain law and order. But frustration has boiled over into anger as essential supplies fail to reach those in need.
At Tacloban airport there are not enough flights to cope with the exodus from the stricken city.
Special forces often have to hold back the hundreds of people, many of whom have walked for hours to reach the airport with little or no food.
None of the aid being loaded on the runway is being distributed to the needy crowds nearby.
The international relief effort has picked up but it is facing major distribution difficulties, as Philippines Red Cross Chairman Richard J. Gordon explained:
“We now have a caravan that has taken us four days before we can get there and they are still six to eight hours away. We have food for 25,000 people going to Tacloban which was stopped so it has been lying there. We are going to move it now and we are going to have a new strategy.”
With everything in short supply, it is no wonder that crowds form when something like a source of gasoline is discovered at a damaged petrol station.
Funnelling off the precious fuel is “not looting” said one survivor, “it’s self preservation”.
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