18 Nov 2013

Aquino critical of lack of preparation for typhoon

3:54 pm on 18 November 2013

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has criticised authorities in some areas for not being fully prepared for the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

During a visit to the coastal town of Guiuan, he praised local officials for carrying out a proper evacuation, but said it was in contrast to other towns.

Mr Aquino has been criticised for his own government's response to the typhoon which had some of the strongest winds ever recorded on land.

Some 3974 people are now known to have been killed by Haiyan, with more than 18,000 injured. The national disaster management centre says another 1500 people are missing, the BBC reports.

Nearly four million people have been forced from their homes with most having to live outside evacuation centres.

Meanwhile, survivors have attended services for the victims. In many places, including the mostly flattened city of Tacloban in Leyte province, Masses were held in half-destroyed and flooded churches.

Guiuan, in Samar province, was the first town hit by the typhoon as it came ashore on 8 November. Mr Aquino said the evacuation ordered by the mayor had limited deaths there to fewer than 100. However, he suggested officials in other places had not been so well prepared.

"As your president, I am not allowed to get angry even if I am already upset," he told reporters. He said that he would have to "stomach" his anger.

He also urged people to show patience. "Our main problem now is feeding 1.4 million people every day. But the government has the resources and we're moving faster."

Meanwhile, areas cut off by typhoon damage are beginning to receive aid, as helicopters drop emergency supplies to isolated settlements.

But the United Nations says many people are still going hungry in mountainous provinces, despite the huge international relief effort.

Foreign medical teams are also on the ground, assisting local health teams in some of the worst-affected areas.

Earlier, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman acknowledged that the national relief response had been slow.

"We will double our efforts to distribute relief goods because we've been hearing complaints," she said.