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UN's Ban calls for more funds for typhoon-stricken Philippines

Source: Reuters - Sat, 21 Dec 2013 01:41 PM
Author: Reuters
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Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan rush to grab relief supplies as they are dropped by Philippine Air Forces helicopter at Barangay San Antonio, Basey Samar November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines, Dec 21 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stepped up an appeal for funds to help the Philippines recover from a devastating typhoon last month after visiting stricken areas on Saturday.

"I was very saddened by what I have seen in Tacloban -- total destruction, and an enormous number of people have been lost, we need to support them," Ban told Reuters after driving miles past flattened and damaged houses.

Haiyan reduced almost everything in its path to rubble when it swept ashore in the central Philippines on Nov. 8, killing at least 6,102 people, with nearly 1800 missing, and 4 million either homeless or with damaged homes.

The United Nations announced an appeal this week for $800 million of funding to provide 12 months of assistance for 14 million people affected by Haiyan, the strongest typhoon to ever hit land. The funds would be used to provide access to food, shelter, water, health and sanitation services.

The call for funding was part of the highest U.N. annual appeal ever of $12.9 billion for 2014, with more than half going to Syria and its neighbours.

So far, the United Nations has received only 30 percent of targeted amount for the Philippines.

"Of course, there are many other areas where we need the resources like supporting the Syrian refugees and Syrian people," Ban said. "But this time, this cannot be done alone. I appeal to the international community to support the Filipino people."

Inspecting repairs at an elementary school wrecked by the typhoon, Ban was greeted by dozens of school children singing Christmas carols.

On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino unveiled the government's 361 billion pesos ($8.2 billion) reconstruction plan, appealing for help from donor agencies and the international humanitarian community as he promised corruption-free use of aid.

"My message to the Filipino is that never despair, the United Nations is behind you, the world is behind you" Ban said as he surveyed the mountain of debris and what little was left of a coastal village in Tacloban City. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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