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Philippines needs $47mn more for typhoon victims
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) June 20, 2013


Tropical Storm Barry lashes Mexico, no one hurt
Veracruz, Mexico (AFP) June 20, 2013 - The second tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Barry, made landfall Thursday in eastern Mexico, bringing heavy rains but causing no damage or casualties.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said Barry hit land in the state of Veracruz at about 1300 GMT, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour. The storm lost steam as it moved inland.

Civil protection officials in Veracruz said there had been no reports of damage, though residents were warned to take precautions, with flash floods still a possibility. Emergency shelters were set up.

A meteorologist at Mexico's national weather service, Alberto Albarran, told AFP he expected significant rainfall in the states of Puebla, Hidalgo and Oaxaca.

Rainfall totals could be as high as 25 centimeters (10 inches), US forecasters said.

Earlier this month, the first tropical storm of the Atlantic season, Andrea, caused severe crop damage in Cuba and damaged more than 1,900 homes.

The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1 and runs through November 30.

Scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have predicted that the six-month Atlantic season will see 13 to 20 named storms, seven to 11 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes.

The Philippines needs an extra $47 million to help more than half a million displaced people recover from a killer typhoon last year and ongoing guerrilla activity, the UN and other aid donors said Thursday.

About 530,000 people urgently need permanent shelters and emergency jobs, while debris from last December's Typhoon Bopha still has to be cleared, said David Carden of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"Obviously we would need to receive (more aid) as soon as possible. There are still needs both in typhoon-affected areas and in other parts of Mindanao. I really hope these areas are not hit again," he told reporters.

A joint mission of UN OCHA and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation visited the southern region of Mindanao this week, seven months after Bopha killed more than 1,000 people and left hundreds more missing.

Other parts of Mindanao are saddled with decades-old Muslim armed rebellions which have claimed tens of thousands of lives since the 1970s.

The UN-OIC mission found the region needed $91 million to fund recovery projects, more than double the $44 million that the UN and other donors were able to raise for relief under the updated aid plan, said Assistant Foreign Secretary Jesus Domingo.

Carden said the aid must reach these areas immediately as the Philippines' rainy season had begun and these areas were still vulnerable to another typhoon.

While the government has signed a ceasefire with the main Muslim rebel groups, violence between armed factions often breaks out, prompting thousands to flee their homes.

The government is now in talks with the region's main Muslim guerrilla force in a bid to seal a final peace pact before the end of President Benigno Aquino's term in 2016.

Rashid Khalikov, a director for the UN OCHA, said the displaced population in the areas of Muslim rebellion were "more focused on immediate needs for the day: shelter, food, education for their children."

Domingo also said he was concerned that those affected might be easy prey to human traffickers who lure them away by promising better-paying jobs.

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