MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations launched a US$65-M global aid appeal on Monday, December 10 to help desperate survivors of a typhoon that killed more than 600 people and affected millions in Mindanao.
Luiza Carvalho, country officer for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the funds would initially help provide food, water and emergency shelter to 480,000 people in the worst-hit areas.
Carvalho spent the past few days visiting Mindanao, where landslides and floods from typhoon “Pablo” (Bopha) flattened entire communities last week, laying low the country’s banana and mining industries.
“I was shocked by the destruction I saw,” she told a news conference in Davao city on the edge of the disaster zone.
“Areas which have been completely devastated, with only a few damaged buildings still standing. Debris from houses, buildings, landslides and logs. Entire plantations wiped out.”
She said the typhoon, the strongest to hit the region for more than 80 years, had left its many poor residents without the means to feed their families.
“This devastation cannot be erased overnight,” she added.
Over the longer term, the UN aid programme will also help survivors to recover emotionally and rehabilitate the devastated farm sector, Carvalho said.
Australia leads foreign aid
Australia has provided 70% of the P737 million in foreign aid pledged so far for the victims of typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao, data compiled by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) showed on Monday, December 10.
According to the DFA, the Australian government has committed a total of P515 million, allocated in this breakdown:
- P214-M in relief assistance
- P86-M for food and essential survival kits through UN agencies such as the World Food Program and the Philippine Red Cross
- P129-M for relief and recovery needs
- P86-M in relief assistance through Australian NGOs working with local partners
The second largest donor is the United States with P127-M, while Indonesia donated P41-M, Japan P22-M, New Zealand P17-M and Canada P10-M, among others.
China — engaged in a standoff with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal — committed P1.2-M to the Philippine Red Cross.
Donations are needed to provide food, water and emergency shelter to 480,000 people in the worst-hit areas. – Rappler.com, with reports from Agence France-Presse
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