Global aid response gathers pace for Philippines
Manila: The global response to the horrific typhoon disaster in the Philippines gathered pace on Tuesday, with the launch of a USD 300 million appeal by the United Nations as countries and companies swung into action.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, in Manila, praised the international community`s response to Super Typhoon Haiyan but insisted much more needed to be done to help people hit by a catastrophe her organisation fears may have already killed 10,000.
"We`ve just launched an action plan focusing on the areas of food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also protection of the most vulnerable with the government and I very much hope our donors will be generous," she told reporters.
"That plan is for USD 301 million dollars," Amos said, adding it was over and above other sums already pledged and did not include USD 25 million that the United Nations` central emergency response fund has made available.
"At this point in time it`s extremely difficult even to get a sense of what the immediate needs are because it is very difficult to get to some of the areas affected."
The UN estimates that more than 11.3 million Filipinos have been affected, with 673,000 made homeless, since Haiyan -- one of the most powerful typhoons ever -- smashed into the nation`s central islands on Friday.
The United States said the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, with 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft aboard, was heading to the Philippines to join 180 US Marines already on the ground.
Britain boosted its aid to GBP 10 million (USD 15.8 million) and sent a destroyer from Singapore, as well as a transport plane.
The European Commission said it would give EUR 13 million (USD 17 million) while India said it was sending an aircraft with 15 tonnes of relief materials.
The United Arab Emirates, which has a large Filipino expatriate community, pledged USD 10 million.
China, where the typhoon killed several people, is to give USD 100,000 towards the aid effort. The state-run Global Times said a territorial row with the Philippines should not affect such decisions.
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