Relief teams appeared overwhelmed in their efforts to help those whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed by Haiyan, which sent tsunami-like waves and merciless winds rampaging across large swathes of the archipelago on Friday.

In Vietnam, more than 600,000 people were evacuated as Haiyan, which moved out of the Philippines and into the South China Sea on Saturday, made landfall there early this morning. Hundreds of Filipino police and soldiers were deployed to contain looters in Tacloban, the devastated provincial capital of Leyte, with gangs stealing consumer goods such as televisions.

A long snake-like queue formed in Tacloban's flattened airport as tired and hungry survivors, some who had trudged through mud and debris for several kilometres, sought the basic essentials for survival.

"We want water and medicines for the injured. So if you can organize it, please, for us, don't let anybody come here who will just watch us and see us suffer, because we don't want that," Joan Lumbre Wilson said, adding that authorities were struggling to cope with the sheer numbers seeking help.

"They're trying to drive us away again, back to our places, where it's too far, and then do it again on Tuesday (walk to reach the compound), and it's not fair on us," she said. "We're already tired, emotionally drained, physically exhausted."

Witnesses yesterday reported seeing looting and violence with President Benigno Aquino admitting it was a major concern. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said on Monday 100 soldiers had been sent to help police restore law and order in Tacloban.

Threatening to further hamper relief efforts was a tropical depression approaching the Southern and central Philippines. Government weather forecasters said the depression could bring fresh floods to typhoon-affected areas.

The depression is expected to hit land on the southern island of Mindanao late on Tuesday and then move across the central islands of Bohol, Cebu, Negros and Panay, which all suffered typhoon damage, forecaster Connie Dadivas said.


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