Don't despair, UN chief tells Filipino typhoon survivors
Ban Ki-moon told survivors not to lose hope as he toured Tacloban and surrounding areas, devastated by the storm
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 yesterday.
"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 said 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 6,102 people, with nearly 1,800 missing, and four million either homeless or with damaged homes and damage put at US$12.9 billion.
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 per cent 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 (HK$63 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, where tsunami-like storm surges wrought by the typhoon obliterated entire neighbourhoods.
Additional reporting by AgenceFrance-Presse