Typhoon-hit Philippine Town Buries Dead in Mass Graves
A central Philippines town has begun burying dozens of its dead in mass graves, as increasingly desperate survivors of Typhoon Haiyan waited for emergency relief supplies to arrive.
The death toll from last Friday's storm now stands at 2,357, though the body count was certain to rise. In the worst-hit city of Tacloban, many rotting corpses still lay in the street or buried beneath debris.
Some of the cadavers were lowered Thursday into a large pit outside just outside the city. There was no official ceremony and it is not clear whether all of the bodies had been identified.
Meanwhile, food, water and other basic necessities were in short supply for many of the hundreds of thousands displaced. Some have turned to looting to survive. One survivor said he has not received any help, six days after the storm.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who visited Tacloban Wednesday, said she is "extremely distressed" that the aid has not reached everyone in need, acknowledging "we have let people down."
Although the amount of aid material shipped to affected areas has steadily increased, much of it has sat unused at airports or other areas because of a lack of fuel and because roads are still blocked by debris.
The situation figures to improve later Thursday with the arrival of the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and several other U.S. ships, which are carrying airplanes and helicopters that can be used to reach the most remote areas.
The U.S. Health Secretary: 100,000 Sign Up for Obamacare Plans in October
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says more than 100,000 Americans have chosen new health care plans through the so-called Obamacare program that opened for business October 1.
Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that as of early this month, 106,185 people had either purchased new health care plans or chosen new plans without yet paying for them. This is barely one-fifth of the nearly 500,000 people administration officials had projected would sign up in the first month of President Barack Obama's signature health care program.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged Wednesday that the numbers fell well below expectations. Administration officials are hoping that several million people will sign up for plans before the March 31 registration deadline.