Typhoon Haiyan: Emergency food supplies yet to reach 600,000 survivors

MANILA (AFP) - Some 600,000 survivors of a deadly typhoon that tore through the Philippines are yet to receive World Food Programme assistance, the body said Tuesday, 11 days after the disaster struck.

Ms Ertharin Cousin, the WFP's executive director, told journalists in Manila that the UN agency had so far delivered emergency supplies of rice and high-energy biscuits to 1.9 million people.

She said an initial assessment of areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan had estimated that 2.5 million survivors were in need of food.

"There are significant numbers of people still that we have yet to reach," Ms Cousin said. "What we work to do is to reach those who don't have other means of accessing food and that number will continue to reduce as we move forward."

She added that "geographical challenges", including choked roads and accessing remote islands, had made reaching everyone affected difficult, and noted that the 2.5 million figure was a "conservative" estimate.

"We are challenged but not overwhelmed and we will continue to perform the work necessary to meet the needs of the Philippine community," she said.

"The work goes on and we won't stop until everyone receives food assistance." Thousands of people died when Haiyan - packing some of the strongest winds ever recorded - smashed into the Philippines on November 8, generating tsunami-like waves that flattened entire communities and left up to four million people displaced.