Philippine police say 182 inmates complaining of hunger and squalid conditions have escaped from a provincial jail in an eastern province that was devastated by a monster storm in November.

Regional police chief Henry Losanes says authorities recaptured 148 of the inmates hours after they stormed out of the Leyte provincial jail in Palo town at dawn Thursday. Police are hunting down the remaining 34, who are facing trial on charges including drug trafficking, rape and murder.

It's not immediately clear how the detainees escaped in such large numbers.

Losanes says the recaptured inmates told investigators they escaped because of limited food and poor conditions and the slow prosecution of their cases.

More than 6,200 people were killed when Typhoon Haiyan hit Leyte island on Nov. 8.