Philippines to seek more aid from Japan at summit

Philippines to seek more aid from Japan at summit

MANILA - Philippine President Benigno Aquino is to seek more aid when he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week, more than a month after a monster typhoon killed thousands and left millions homeless.

Aquino and Abe are expected to witness the signing of "exchanges of notes", including a post-disaster standby loan worth about 10 billion yen (S$121 million), foreign office spokesman Raul Hernandez said Monday.

"During the meeting the two leaders will discuss cooperation on disaster management and reconstruction" in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan," Hernandez said.

Haiyan slashed through the central Philippines with gusts of 315 kilometres an hour on November 8, making it the strongest ever recorded typhoon to make landfall. Tidal surges triggered by Haiyan wiped out entire coastal communities.

In its latest report Monday, Manila's civil defence office said the death toll had climbed to 5,924, with more than 1,700 others known to be missing. Nearly four million people were also displaced, and getting aid to those affected by the disaster remains a challenge, officials and survivors say.

Aquino is to leave for Japan on Thursday to join fellow Southeast Asian leaders in a commemorative summit with Japan, with post-typhoon rehabilitation expected to be among the regional issues on the table.

Last week, the United Nations' refugee agency launched a fresh appeal for emergency aid from international donors, saying it needed US$19.2 million (S$24 million), more than double the US$8.2 million it had raised so far.

The Philippine government said it had received total foreign pledges of up to US$484 million. Of that total, only US$12.13 million has so far been received.

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