Philippines typhoon aftermath brightens in Roxas City

A Roman Catholic priest leads dozens of displaced Philippines typhoon survivors on a march through shattered city of Tacloban, seeking to cheer people up.

Canada's DART helps power restoration as priest leads dozens of survivors on march to boost spirits

Canadian contributions towards relief efforts in the Philippines are starting to make a difference in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan 2:29

A Roman Catholic priest led dozens of displaced Philippines typhoon survivors on a march through shattered city of Tacloban on Tuesday, seeking to boost its spirits.

The marchers sang We Shall Overcome as they toured parts of the city, at one point skirting some unburied corpses in bags by the roadside.

Rev. Robert Reyes, an activist priest known for running long distances across country to draw attention to social issues, said the marchers were living in a church and a sports stadium.

"This is not an ordinary march," said Reyes. "We call it the walk to overcome. This is part of what we call psycho-social therapy where you listen to the victims of the disaster but you also make them believe that they can actually heal themselves."

Typhoon Haiyan cut a path across eastern and central Philippines on Nov. 8, with some of fastest wind speeds on record. It killed or has left missing more than 5,000 people and displaced an estimated four million people. A major international relief mission is underway to help the survivors, many of whom will be dependent on aid for months to come.

The airport in Tacloban, which was almost entirely destroyed in the storm, has emerged as relief hub, with scores of aid flights arriving each day carrying food, water, medicine, generators and heavy lifting equipment. The pace has picked up markedly in recent days compared to the chaos in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

"It looks completely different to when I came in last week," said Valerie Amos, the United Nation's humanitarian chief. "I'm really delighted that so much progress has been made, so much more aid is going out, and the people are getting the vital supplies that they need."

At the same time, cash has begun to flow in Tacloban. There is still no electricity, and most banks are still behind piles of debris, but a single automated teller machine running on a small generator was open Tuesday.

The official estimates of what it may cost to rebuild and restore the affected areas of the Philippines now runs to almost $6 billion, media reports say.

DART helps with lines

The Canadian government increased its contribution to the aid effort yesterday to more than $20 million, as well as paying for the Disaster Assistance Response Team, which is operating in Roxas City.

CBC's Susan Ormiston, who is also in Roxas, said Monday electrical workers were beginning to get power lines straightened out and poles set up again.

"Canada's DART team is doing the first part of this work, cutting the lines and moving them off the road," she said.

"And Canada's contribution is growing: $20 million has been donated by Canadians, and the government is matching that by about $20 million more. And so $40 million more is flooding into countries from Canadians.

"That does not include the cost of DART. The government has not released any estimates on what that DART team will cost here."

With files from CBC News

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