Philippines needs $46.8 million for quake victims: UN

AFP , Friday 25 Oct 2013

At this moment, the Philippines is the country that really stands alone with the highest of needs and the highest requirements, UN official says

The United Nations appealed for $46.8 million in international aid on Friday for the hundreds of thousands now living in tents after a big earthquake in the disaster-prone Philippines.

A 7.1-magnitude quake last week flattened homes, schools, clinics and other vital infrastructure killing more than 200 people.

But a further 35,000 families need emergency shelter while more than 300,000 residents of Bohol island require assistance for basic needs like water, sanitation, food, and health services for six months, UN resident humanitarian coordinator Luizha Carvalho said.

"At this moment, the Philippines is the one (country) that really stands alone with the highest of needs and the highest requirements," Carvalho told a news conference.

She said she hoped donors would still give money despite a series of recent natural and man-made disasters that also required international assistance, such as a destructive typhoon in December last year and guerrilla attacks that destroyed parts of the southern city of Zamboanga last month.

"We have a very interesting pattern of several events that are happening almost simultaneously and we still hope for the generosity of the donors," Carvalho said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Philippines asked donor governments and aid groups to give more on top of those already providing for survivors of Typhoon Bopha and the Zamboanga conflict.

The October 15 quake left 201 dead, along with 54,000 houses destroyed on Bohol and nearby central islands.

World Food Programme representative Praveen Agrawal said many quake survivors were still living under makeshift tents that would not stand up to heavy rain.

"We need to move fast. If we are overtaken by rains, the situation could become even more serious," he added.

Carvalho said UN aid agencies had only raised $43 million for victims of Typhoon Bopha, far short of the $76 million it originally sought to help rebuild lives after a storm that left nearly 2,000 people dead or missing in the south.

They have also raised $26 million for Zamboanga, where three weeks of fighting between government forces and Muslim rebels opposed to peace talks left more than 140 people dead, she added.

"The international community are very generous if they are able to see a good argument and a good case that is put together... and that is what we find in the Philippines," she said.

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