"We've asked the U.S. for aid and the secretary of defense says they are sending an aircraft carrier and a couple other ships - those are en route," said Ricky Carandang, a spokesman for the Philippine president, Benigno S. Aquino III.
"There are lots of remote areas that haven't received aid," Carandang said. "The priority is to get food and water supplied."
The Philippine government expressed gratitude for the assistance, but it also appeared anxious to retain basic strategic controls, which may have had the unintended consequence of hampering some relief efforts.
William Hotchkiss, the director of the Philippine Civil Aviation Authority, told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that 4 of the 5 airports whose operations had been disrupted by the typhoon were now fully operating.
Aid groups detailed frustrating challenges trying to help the tens of thousands of people struggling for food and shelter in Tacloban and elsewhere. The storm surge was so powerful that it left Tacloban devastated, with little means to start up the process of distributing supplies.
Asked if the Philippines would be issuing further requests for aid, Carandang said, "It is difficult to say."
Other nations have been making aid offers as the extent of the devastation has emerged.
Australia announced a $9.3 million aid package, including medical personnel and supplies like tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, water containers and hygiene kits. Britain pledged to give $16 million in aid so that up to 500,000 people can obtain temporary shelter. And Japan, which suffered a devastating tsunami two years ago, offered $10 million in aid.