UN's Ban calls for more funds for Philippines

ROSEMARIE FRANCISCO
Last updated 07:05 22/12/2013

UN Secretary General gives message of hope to people of typhoon ravaged Philippines. Julie Noce reports.

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UN 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 today.

"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 November 8, killing at least 6102 people, with nearly 1800 missing, and four million either homeless or with damaged homes.

The United Nations announced an appeal this week for US$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 UN annual appeal ever of US$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 (US$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.

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- Reuters

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