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Natural Disasters

UN appeals to send aid to Filipino typhoon victims

The United Nations has appealed for $65 million in emergency aid for millions of victims of a typhoon that hit the southern Philippines last week. At least 647 people have been killed with 780 still missing.

The $65 million (50.3 million euros) action plan for recovery from Typhoon Bopha would "deliver urgently needed food, water and emergency shelter and other urgent assistance to 480,000 seriously affected people in the worst-hit areas," the UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The plan would also help rehabilitate the agricultural sector, a key industry among millions in the southern region of Mindanao, where the storm made landfall Tuesday.

"Farmers in Mindanao, one of the poorest areas in the Philippines, have seen their crops devastated," the office said. "In an area highly dependent on subsistence agriculture, thousands are now completely unable to provide for their families."

Luiza Carvalho, UN humanitarian coordinator, who visited the affected areas, said Bopha's impact as "beyond imagination."

She described "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."

A third of the country's banana harvest was destroyed, leaving tens of thousands of plantation workers without an immediate source of income, according to industry officials.

More than 5 million people were affected by Bopha's onslaught, according to the Philippines' Office of Civil Defense.

The typhoon destroyed 81,000 houses and more than 300,000 survivors face months of sheltering in crowded government gyms and schools as officials look for safe places to build new homes.

hc/dr (AFP, dpa)