Obama administration planning to increase US troop number in Philippines following massive typhoon

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says the number of American troops helping the relief effort in the typhoon-hit Philippines could triple to more than 1,000 by the end of the week.

Senior administration officials said Wednesday that after a very difficult first few days, logistical bottlenecks obstructing aid to the hard-hit city of Tacloban (tahk-LOH'-bahn) are starting to ease.

They say an overland route to the city has opened up, which should accelerate the distribution of relief supplies.

Some 307 troops are currently in the Philippines, but more Marines should depart soon from Okinawa, Japan.

So far, U.S. forces have evacuated about 800 Filipinos from Tacloban.

They are also transporting Philippine security forces to restore order to the region, where violence and looting has occurred. Officials say the security situation is improving.

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