$89.7 million sent to UN typhoon fund

UNITED NATIONS, United States - The United Nations has received US$72 million (S$89.7 million) for its relief fund for the disaster-stricken Philippines with Gulf countries the key contributors, a top UN humanitarian official said Friday.

Kuwait and United Arab Emirates have each given US$10 million to the UN appeal for US$301 million to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, John Ging, the UN humanitarian operations director told a news conference.

Ging added that more than US$80 million has been donated to the Philippines relief effort through other international charities and organisations.

"Money is coming very quickly," Ging told reporters, while adding: "We have to keep our foot on the accelerator. Too many people have not received assistance but they should know the assistance is on the way."

According to a latest Philippine government toll, 3,620 people have been confirmed as killed by the typhoon. "But we all know that figure is going to rise," Ging said.

The United Nations said Thursday, quoting government figures, that about 4,600 people had been killed. The UN would stop giving toll estimates because the figures were becoming "confusing," Ging said.

The UN still says that 13 million people have been affected by the typhoon with 1.9 million people displaced and 287,000 homes serious damaged or destroyed.

UN officials say the priority in the stricken areas must now be to restore drinking water and health facilities in the worst hit areas, particularly the devastated town of Tacloban.