UN says aid must reach Philippine typhoon victims faster

MANILA - United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Thursday that aid must reach desperate Philippine typhoon survivors more quickly, amid reports of hunger and thirst in stricken neighbourhoods.

"The situation is dismal. Those who have been able to leave have done so. Many more are trying. People are extremely desperate for help," Amos told reporters in Manila.

"We need to get assistance to them now. They are already saying it has taken too long to arrive. Ensuring a faster delivery is our... immediate priority."

Criticism is growing that help is taking too long to arrive in Tacloban and other areas that were splintered by Typhoon Haiyan when it swept through the central Philippines last Friday.

Bodies still litter the streets of Tacloban, while others lie putrefying in body bags outside the broken city hall, awaiting mass burials.

Thousands of desperate survivors are clamouring to get out of a place where clean drinking water is in short supply and many have no shelter.