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Mass burials in the Philippines as foreign governments step up aid effort

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Mass burials in the Philippines as foreign governments step up aid effort


The first mass burials have taken place in Tacloban, the Philippine city hardest hit by last week’s typhoon.

Volunteers and firefighters lowered over 160 unidentified victims into a mass grave the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

Meanwhile the pace of the aid effort has picked up over the last 24 hours. Foreign governments are sending blankets, tents, water purifiers and emergency food supplies. South Korea sent additional supplies on Friday.

Over half a million people have been displaced by the typhoon. Authorities are struggling to meet their immediate needs. Given the scale of the disaster, the infrastructure and communications problems, this is not unusual.

President Benigno Aquino visited repackaging centres for aid relief in Manila on Thursday.

“We need to help lift up our countrymen so they’ll be able to take care of themselves. But for now, they need something to help them cope from the shock of the disaster, and some time to be able to take care of their lives,” he said.

Thousands of people remain at Tacloban’s damaged airport, trying to leave or to get treatment at a makeshift medical centre.

There are concerns that delays could lead to violence as people grow increasingly desperate.

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