Typhoon survivors gather for prayers as the massive relief effort steps up

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Filipino typhoon survivors gathered for prayers in a ruined church on Sunday amid the devastation caused by the typhoon that has claimed the lives of thousands and displaced millions.

People inundated the heavily-damaged Our Lord of Transfiguration Church in Palo, a town which is outside Tacloban city which was flattened when Typhoon Haiyan hit on November 8.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino arrived in Tacloban City on Sunday as he sought to deflect criticism of his government’s response to the disaster.

“When it comes to natural disasters, all we can do is pray, but it is also important to do all that we can. What I want to stress out is that the government has the means. There are many countries, at least 28 countries helping out on our operations. Can we rise up? Of course we can, but it would be easier and faster if everyone helps out,” said Aquino.

Meanwhile a massive relief effort is kicking into gear, nine days after the most powerful typhoon on record wreaked havoc across the impoverished region.  

The US Navy delivered more food, water and shelter items.

The Royal Australian Air Force, with help from US army officers, organised flights using its planes, to and from Cebu and the typhoon-struck towns of Guiuan and Tacloban.

Among the passengers of a flight from Guiuan were 10 students who were vacationing in their hometown when the typhoon hit.

Many of the students are high school scholars, from low-income families.

“I miss my family a bit, and I’m still not very comfortable,” said senior high school student Floriza Mae Padullo.

The students they were praying that their families have enough to eat, and would recover from the devastation soon.

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