Philippines asks for aid after Bopha

Philippines asks for aid after Bopha

NEW BATAAN - Agence France-Presse
Philippines asks for aid after Bopha

Filipino soldiers stand guard as residents queue up to receive aid. AFP photo

Nearly 200,000 people were homeless and 475 confirmed dead after the Philippines’ worst typhoon this year, officials said yesterday, as the government appealed for international help.

Typhoon Bopha ploughed across Mindanao Island on Dec. 4, flattening whole towns in its path as hurricane-force winds brought torrential rain that triggered a deadly combination of floods and landslides. The army said it was looking for at least 377 missing people while seeking help for more than 179,000 others who sheltered in schools, gyms and other buildings after losing everything.

President Benigno Aquino has sent food and other supplies by ship to 150,000 people on Mindanao’s east coast where three towns remain cut off by landslides and wrecked bridges, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said the government had sought help from the Swiss-based International Organization for Migration to build temporary shelters to ease the pressure on evacuation camps. The United States and Japan said they had offered emergency assistance.

Geologist Mahar Lagmay, head of a government project to map out all flood-prone areas of the country, said that while most people in the affected communities were aware of the danger, they did not know where to go for safety.