Typhoon Haiyan: Law and order prevailing amid chaos in Tacloban

Typhoon Haiyan: Law and order prevailing amid chaos in Tacloban

TACLOBAN, Philippines - Fears that the dire situation among desperate typhoon survivors in the Philippines would tip into violence receded on Friday, as relief operations scaled up and a reinforced police presence deterred looters.

At Tacloban Airport, which had witnessed frenzied scenes earlier in the week as crowds fought for a seat on any plane leaving the devastated city, a semblance of order had been restored.

"Things are looking very different here than they were when we arrived," said Captain Jon Shamess of the United States Airforce's 320th Special Tactics Squadron, which had flown in from Okinawa on Tuesday to help secure the airport.

"Before, as soon as a plane landed, people were all rushing towards it trying to get on, which is obviously a very dangerous situation," Capt Shamess said.

There were still thousands of people desperate to get out, but most stood patiently, waiting their turn.

In Tacloban city, the police deployment had swelled to around 1,200 on Friday, with reinforcements flown in from Manila, according to Mr Wilben Mayor, spokesman for the Philippines national police chief.

"There was some looting, but that has been contained now," Mr Mayor told AFP.

"We're still very alert to the security situation, but our focus is switching from crime prevention to supporting the relief effort," he added.

A strict dusk-to-dawn curfew has been in force in Tacloban since Monday night.

Isolated shooting incidents in the immediate aftermath of last Friday's super typhoon had fuelled concerns of a breakdown in law and order as survivors struggled to survive without food, water or electricity.

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