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From social media to UN appeals - Philippines aid efforts intensify

From social media to UN appeals - Philippines aid efforts intensify
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Families on Cebu island in the Philippines who lost everything in Typhoon Haiyan are utterly dependent on aid.

With access difficult for the big agencies outside, one western expat in the region has used social media to raise money for vital supplies that he has already been able to start distributing.

“We are just doing as much as we can and I put a post on Facebook. I said: ‘Can you help? I am going up there with the car.’ So I got a lot of donations from my friends and family,” said Simon Timmins, as he made his delivery. “I got about 1,000 pounds so I have got enough for at least two trips up here. This is the first trip and I will be coming up again later in the week.”

International relief efforts have seen countries and organisations pledge tens of millions of euros. But with many victims not yet getting the help they need, the United Nations has launched a major emergency appeal.

“This action plan asks for 301 million US dollars,” said Jens Laerke, Spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “It is for agency response in, basically, all sectors of humanitarian assistance. 11.3 million people have been affected by the typhoon.”

As immediate help is dispatched, the Philippines’ long-term future is also being considered, with the EU pledging an additional 10 million euros in aid towards the reconstruction of typhoon-devastated regions.