MANILA, Philippines, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- International efforts are under way to help the Philippines recover from a tropical storm officials say left more than 1,000 people dead and 1,000 more missing.
The United Nations said it is trying to raise $28.6 million in emergency aid in addition to the $38 million sought last week. A U.N. release Thursday said the money will be used to provide clean water for drinking and bathing, food, emergency shelter and essential household items to 471,000 people in the Mindanao region hardest-hit by the storm.
U.N. relief official Soe Nyunt-U said the extent of the devastation shocked him.
"It was as if the cities were hit by an inland tsunami," he said. "Entire areas were completely flattened, only a few sturdy buildings remain standing, and these had sustained a lot of damage. Debris from houses, buildings and other structures that had been destroyed by the storm [were] all swept out to the sea, leaving huge areas devoid of all traces of habitation."
The Philippine Star reported the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the death toll from Tropical Storm Washi had reached 1,080, with more than 1,000 others missing.
The United Nations said more than 28,000 homes are damaged or destroyed, 43,600 people are staying in emergency shelters and 266,000 people are staying with relatives or in makeshift structures.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Friday sent a planeload of relief supplies for the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
"It's now my first official duty as patron of the UNHCR so I am grateful to them for gathering rebuilding materials and primary non-perishable needs for the family," Philippine President Benigno Aquino said.
Aquino also called upon Filipinos unaffected by the storm to share with the victims and "make them feel they are not alone," the newspaper said.
"My only wish for each one of you: don't hesitate to share our blessings. Let us not hesitate to offer a good deed," he said. "Let us make them feel that they are not alone. Let us make them feel they are part of a bigger family."
|Additional World News Stories|