The exodus of survivors from Tacloban city continued on Friday (November 16), as families scrambled to get onto military flights, abandoning their ravaged communities.

President Benigno Aquino has faced mounting pressure to speed up the distribution of aid and also came under criticism over unclear estimates of casualties, especially in Tacloban, capital of hardest-hit Leyte province.

Many complain that relief items have not reached them, a week after the storm.

"We are so surprised, because I understand that the President came here, a day after the storm, and he promised a lot of things for the people from here, but even when we went around, we didn't even see any relief goods being given to these people and they really just crave to have food, you know, that's what they need," Tacloban resident David Sta. Monica said.

Survivors have grown increasingly desperate and angry over the pace of aid distribution, which has been hindered by paralysed local governments, widespread looting, a lack of fuel for rescue vehicles and debris-choked roads.

Helicopters from a U.S. aircraft carrier and other naval ships began flying food, water and medical teams to ravaged regions on Friday.

The road to recovery is ominous, with aid agencies saying it could take years before entire communities are rebuilt.

Foreign aid officials have called the disaster unprecedented for the Philippines.

UN's disaster assessment team leader, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, said the humanitarian response has a long way to go.

"Look, the business of disaster response is a typical one, and I'm very glad we could be here to help, but yeah, I'm not going to be happy until we've covered the whole of the needs, and we're not covering them yet. Tacloban's one thing but we need to get out of Tacloban, we need to get out into the hinterlands and to cover those needs as well. So until we've done that, me and my team, we'll remain here and it's a hard slog but it's well worthwhile," Stampa said.

Official confirmed deaths nationwide stood at 2,357 on Friday after the typhoon, one of the strongest ever recorded, roared across the central Philippines a week ago.

Adding to the confusion, the United Nations, citing government figures, put the latest overall death toll at 4,460.

More than 920,000 people have been displaced, the United Nations said. But many areas still have not received aid.

Presented by Adam Justice

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