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Philippine President to Camp in Tacloban

 A toy seen inside a damaged house in Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines
A toy seen inside a damaged house in Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines (Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

The president of the Philippines came to visit the typhoon disaster region in his country today and decided to stay.

Residents appeal for help in the aftermath of the recent super typhoon in Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines
Residents appeal for help in the aftermath of the recent super typhoon in Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines (Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

President Benigno Aquino III says he will camp out in typhoon-battered Leyte province until he sees more progress in the aid effort following complaints from survivors that they have yet to receive proper help.

Aquino is expected to set up camp in Tacloban, the capital of hardest-hit province, but it is not clear where. Virtually every building in the city was damaged or destroyed. The death toll is now nearly 4,000 people, according to the latest official count, with about 1,200 missing.

Electricity and running water are in critically short supply.

Earlier in the day, thousands of Filipinos, many still homeless and grieving, flocked to dozens of churches for Sunday Mass.

China ready to send rescue teams to Philippines

China says it is ready to send rescue and medical teams to the Philippines, one week after a devastating typhoon struck the island nation.

The belated offer published in a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website Sunday follows an extremely modest pledge of less than $2 million in disaster assistance. The small offering has been attributed to spite over a festering dispute with Manila over South China Sea islands claimed by both sides.

In the statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was quoted as saying that China was monitoring conditions in the Philippines and the emergency teams would depart for the hardest hit areas “should conditions permit.”

There was no immediate indication whether the aid teams were preparing to depart or whether the Philippine government had accepted the Chinese offer.

Aid missions boost US troops’ image, readiness

US soldiers load relief supplies into a Navy seahawk helicopter in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
US soldiers load relief supplies into a Navy seahawk helicopter in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines (Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

As soon as Navy pilot Matthew Stafford puts his helicopter down in the village of Borongan, he is rushed by dozens of local men who form a line to unload the supplies he has flown in from the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.

On the Philippine islands of Leyte and Samar that were shattered by Typhoon Haiyan, there is no doubt about it: the U.S. military has been a godsend.

But while U.S. military support can be critical when during disasters, staging massive humanitarian relief missions for allies isn’t just about being a good neighbor. They can be a strategic and publicity goldmine for U.S. troops whose presence in Asia isn’t always portrayed in such a favorable light — and a powerful warning to countries that aren’t on board.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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