$65 million aid appeal for the Philippines

$65 million aid appeal for the Philippines

$65 million aid appeal for the Philippines

Updated 11 December 2012, 6:19 AEDT

UN, aid agencies call for help for five million typhoon survivors in the Philippines

The United Nations has launched a global aid appeal to raise USD $65 million to help an estimated five million people affected by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines.

The typhoon hit the country's south last week, killing more than 600 people.

Another 800 are still missing.

Local NGOs are helping government and international agencies plan aid deliveries, through their extensive networks.

Aid agencies say food, water and medical assistance for those injured are among the most urgent needs.

"Shelter is also a very big concern because most of the houses were damaged or destroyed - they're no longer standing, or if they're standing, they won't have roofs," Patricia Sarenas, Chairwoman of the Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE), told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific.

MINCODE is an umbrella body for 12 local groups, whose members themselves are among those affected.

"Many of our partners were also affected, but what keeps us going is the fact that some of them have already started helping, even in the identification of where relief should go, and help in the packing and distribution of goods, even if they themselves are victims," said Ms Sarenas.

She also said there is a need for better coordination between the groups providing relief support and local emergency centres.

Looting and begging

Meanwhile, the Philippine President, Benigno Aquino, has ordered the police to stop looting in areas devastated by the typhoon.

Police have been sent to secure stores and homes from looters in Compostela Valley and Davao Provinces, where villagers desperate for food and provisions had looted stores and warehouses.

Some families have even resorted to begging for money and supplies, as flooding and damaged roads delayed the arrival of relief supplies.

"Some municipalities have been cut off both ways, both north and south. So they're pretty isolated," said Ms Sarenas, but she added that some of these places have been reached by boats, provided by the Government.

Possible re-location

There is also a possibility that people may not be allowed to return to their homes and communities, if they are in places vulnerable to flooding and landslides.

"It's going to be a big debate," said Ms Sarenas from the Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE) .

"Because there are areas that are in flood-prone or landslide-prone areas, so the municipal government may not want people to return there."