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Aid operations pick up pace in Philippines

Tuesday - 11/12/2013, 10:38pm  ET

TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) -- Relief operations in the typhoon-devastated central Philippines are picking up pace Wednesday.

Only minimal amounts of water, food and medical supplies are making it to the hardest-hit areas still, but aviation authorities have reopened two more airports in the region, allowing for more aid flights.

International agencies and militaries also are speeding up operations to get staff, supplies and equipment in place for what will be a major humanitarian mission.

A doctor at a makeshift clinic at the damaged airport in Tacloban (tahk-LOH'-bahn) says supplies of antibiotics and anesthetics arrived Tuesday for the first time. Before that he says, "patients had to endure the pain."

Damaged infrastructure and bad communications links are making the death toll difficult to estimate. The national disaster agency puts it at 1,883. But President Benigno Aquino III tells CNN that the final toll could be closer to 2,500, rather than the 10,000 some officials had feared.

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APPHOTO XVT102: Malaysian air force personnel load relief supplies donated by Malaysian government for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, at the Air Force base in Subang, Malaysia, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Foreign governments and agencies have announced a major relief effort to help victims of the Philippine typhoon. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) (13 Nov 2013)

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APPHOTO XVT105: Malaysian air force personnel load relief supplies donated by Malaysian government for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, at the Air Force base in Subang, Malaysia, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Foreign governments and agencies have announced a major relief effort to help victims of the Philippine typhoon. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) (13 Nov 2013)

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APPHOTO XVT103: Malaysian air force personnel load relief supplies donated by Malaysian government for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, at the Air Force base in Subang, Malaysia, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Foreign governments and agencies have announced a major relief effort to help victims of the Philippine typhoon.(AP Photo/Vincent Thian) (13 Nov 2013)

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