LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In just 24 hours, an appeal by Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to help survivors of the Philippines typhoon has raised £13 million ($20.7 million), the coalition of British charities said on Wednesday.
"The initial public response has been overwhelming - people have given so generously in such a short space of time,” DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed told the BBC. "They have obviously been moved by the heart-breaking stories coming out of the Philippines of those struggling to survive."
The British government has said it will match public donations up to the first £5 million, increasing the U.K.’s support for the Philippines to $15 million in total.
The DEC appeal is one of several launched to raise funds for survivors who are becoming increasingly desperate for food, water and other supplies, five days after Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded, slammed into cities and towns in the central Philippines.
The government of President Benigno Aquino has been overwhelmed by the force of the typhoon, which destroyed large swathes of Leyte province where local officials have said they feared 10,000 people died, a figure that has been disputed by the president.
The United Nations said 670,000 people had been driven from their homes by the disaster.
The Red Cross estimated 22,000 are missing, even though it cautioned that the figure could include people who have since been located.
In Tacloban, a coastal city of 220,000 people only 20 percent of the residents were receiving aid, said city administrator Tecson John Lim.
Eight people were crushed to death when looters stormed rice stockpiles in the town of Alangalang, causing a wall to collapse, local authorities said.
The overall financial cost of the destruction were difficult to estimate, with one report putting it at $8 billion to $19 billion.
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