Philippines Typhoon: UN Launches Aid Appeal

Philippines Typhoon: UN Launches Aid Appeal

More than 600 people have now been killed as a result of Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, which has left millions more without food and shelter.

At least 900 people remain missing, including 300 fishermen as landslides and floods obliterated entire communities in the south of the country.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos said the fishermen were headed to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and to the Pacific Ocean.

Many of those missing could be among the hundreds of unidentified bodies, many of them bloated beyond recognition, Mr Ramos said.

The United Nations has launched a £40m (\$65m) global aid appeal to help the thousands affected.

The UN will provide an immediate aid package as well as long-term support for the southern region of Mindanao which has been hardest hit by Typhoon Bopha.

"Five million people were affected and they need express assistance," Imogen Wall, spokeswoman for the UN, has said.

"Priority needs are food, water and shelter but there's also a big emphasis on helping people's livelihood," she said.

The region will need sustained assistance for at least six months, she added.

A number of villages are still completely cut off and not receiving any aid a week after the typhoon struck.

Nearly 400,000 people have lost their homes and are crowded inside evacuation centres.

Relief workers have reported looting of shops in at least one hard-hit town on Mindanao's east coast. Homeless people without a space in government shelters have been reduced to begging on roadsides.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the typhoon-devastated region on Monday showed the precarious situation survivors face, although the quake was too deep to cause any damage.