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DAVAO: The United Nations launched a $65m global aid appeal yesterday to help desperate survivors of a typhoon that killed more than 600 people and affected millions in the southern Philippines.
Luiza Carvalho, country officer for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the funds would initially help provide food, water and emergency shelter to 480,000 people in the worst-hit areas.
Carvalho spent the past few days visiting Mindanao island, where landslides and floods from Typhoon Bopha flattened entire communities last week, laying low the country’s banana and mining industries.
“I was shocked by the destruction I saw,” she told a news conference in Davao city on the edge of the disaster zone.
“Areas which have been completely devastated, with only a few damaged buildings still standing. Debris from houses, buildings, landslides and logs. Entire plantations wiped out.”
She said the typhoon, the strongest to hit the region for more than 80 years, had left its many poor residents without the means to feed their families.
“This devastation cannot be erased overnight,” she added.
Over the longer term, the UN aid programme will also help survivors to recover emotionally and rehabilitate the devastated farm sector, Carvalho said.