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'World is behind you', Ban tells Philippine typhoon survivors
by Staff Writers
Tacloban, Philippines (AFP) Dec 21, 2013


Don't let Philippines become a 'forgotten crisis': UN chief
Manila (AFP) Dec 22, 2013 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on donor nations Sunday to ramp up aid to typhoon-battered Philippines as it grapples with a funding shortfall on the long road to recovery.

"We must not allow this to be another forgotten crisis," Ban told reporters a day after touring the storm-ravaged city of Tacloban.

He said the UN had only achieved 30 percent of the $791 million in aid it had appealed for to boost relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan last month.

"I am appealing (to) the donor community, to speed up, scale up their support," Ban said, adding that he had met with the ambassadors of key donor countries in Manila on Sunday.

He said he was deeply moved and inspired by his visit to Tacloban on Saturday, where despite the many challenges "people are working hard to recover".

Ban acknowledged some bottlenecks in relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon owing to logistical challenges in reaching remote central Philippine islands impacted by the typhoon.

However, he said the UN stood firm in its commitment to help the Philippines as it lays out an ambitious plan to rebuild storm battered areas.

Super Typhoon Haiyan walloped the central Philippines on November 8, triggering giant tsunami-like waves that swallowed entire communities.

The typhoon, one of the strongest ever to hit land, left 6,102 people dead and 1,779 others missing, according to a government tally.

Ravaging an area the size of Portugal, it inflicted $12.9 billion in damage and left 4.4 million people homeless. The Philippine government said it would need $8.17 billion over four years in a massive rebuilding effort.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Philippine typhoon survivors Saturday to "never despair", vowing to rally global backing as they rebuild their lives from one of their country's deadliest disasters.

"Never despair. The UN is behind you. The world is behind you," the UN chief said during a visit to the devastated central city of Tacloban, which suffered more than 5,000 deaths from Super Typhoon Haiyan as it crashed through the central islands of the Philippines on November 8.

Wearing a baseball cap and a tan shirt, the 69-year-old South Korean UN chief walked through a narrow, debris-strewn street in Fatima, a coastal district in the city of 220,000 people that was obliterated by tsunami-like storm surges wrought by the typhoon.

A ship that ploughed through the neighbourhood after being hurled by huge waves lay stranded nearby, six weeks after the deluge.

Ban also visited a Tacloban tent school, put up by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), where pupils who had lost their homes sang Christmas carols for him. He handed out backpacks to almost 200 elementary school children there.

The typhoon, one of the strongest ever to hit land, left 6,102 people dead and 1,779 others missing, according to a government tally.

Ravaging an area the size of Portugal, it inflicted $12.9 billion in damage and left 4.4 million people homeless. The Philippine government said it would need $8.17 billion over four years in a massive rebuilding effort.

The UN earlier this month launched a global $791-million call for aid to take care of the needs of the survivors over the next 12 months.

"This is a tragedy, but it can be overcome when we are united. I am here to bring that unity and solidarity," Ban told reporters, speaking beside the grounded ship in the midst of the ruined Tacloban neighbourhood.

He said he was "very impressed" with the efforts of the residents, many of them forced to live in crowded evacuation camps and makeshift tents, to get back on their feet.

"The people of Tacloban are a very resilient people and are returning to their normal lives," he added.

Ban arrived in the Philippine capital Manila late Friday for a three-day visit and called on President Benigno Aquino earlier Saturday before flying to Tacloban.

"President Aquino thanked Mr. Ban for the United Nations' support for our relief and rehabilitation efforts," Aquino spokeswoman Abigail Valte said on government radio.

"The president also thanked Mr. Ban for the visit, for showing concern for our people," she added.

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Philippine typhoon death toll rising by eight daily
Manila (AFP) Dec 15, 2013
Relief teams are still finding eight to 10 dead bodies a day, more than a month after Super Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the central Philippines, a civil defence official said Sunday. The number of casualties, which the government placed at 6,057 dead and 1,779 missing, is almost certain to rise, said Rey Gozon, civil defence director for the areas hardest-hit by the killer storm. "For our reg ... read more


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