The USS George Washington arrived off the devastated coast of the Philippines Thursday as the United Nations' humanitarian chief acknowledged frustration at the slow pace of aid distribution, saying: “We have let people down.”
The aircraft carrier's 5,000 sailors and two supporting cruisers immediately began moving aid to the increasingly-desperate survivors of Typhoon Haiyan as part of 'Operation Damayan.'
More than half a million people have been displaced across the Philippines, according to the U.N. The confirmed death toll stood at 2,357 on Thursday, but aid workers fear the true figure could be much higher.
Seven days after 195 mph winds slammed into the country, most of those affected are still waiting to receive food and medical supplies - even as boxes of aid pile up at airports and military bases.
In the worst-hit city, Tacloban, the local mayor said workers had to choose between using trucks for the distribution of food or the collection of bodies, while the main convention center has become temporary home for hundreds of people living in abject squalor.