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Global relief effort under way for typhoon-hit Philippines

The international community has pledged millions in aid to typhoon-hit Philippines. The official death toll stands at 1,774, but local officials estimate that well over 10,000 died as the typhoon swept through.

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Philippines: the fight for survival

With around 10 million people affected and in need of assistance after typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last Friday, the UN has pledged 25 million dollars (18.7 million euros) from its emergency relief fund.

The UN has also launched a global appeal for a third of a billion dollars "needed for food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and protection of the most vulnerable," according to UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.

The World Food Programme has allocated two million dollars for the disaster response.

Individual countries have also released funds, with the US pledging 20 million dollars in immediate aid. Washington has also sent an aircraft carrier as well as officials from its development agency.

The UK has pledged 16 million dollars and has deployed a navy warship, as well as airforce military transport aircraft.

Pledges from Japan, Australia

Japan will donate 10 million dollars and it has sent medical staff to the Philippines. Australia is giving just under 10 million US dollars.

Germany on Tuesday increased its assistance from 500,000 to one million euros (1.3 million dollars). It has also sent staff from its Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW).

The Philippine government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council confirmed a death toll of 1,744 people on Tuesday, with another 2,487 hurt. Its toll was based on bodies counted, but estimates run much higher, as many areas are inaccessible. Local officials have estimated that around 10,000 people could have died.

'Strewn with dead bodies'

John Ging, director of operations at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said "many places are strewn with dead bodies" that need to be buried quickly to prevent the outbreak of a public health disaster.

"We're sadly expecting the worst as we get more and more access," Ging told reporters at the United Nations in New York on Monday.

More than nine million people over 41 provinces in the Philippines have been left affected in the wake of Haiyan.

Many of the dead were killed by tsunami-like waves that reached a height of up to five meters (16 feet). More than 600,000 people have been displaced.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino declared "a state of national calamity," on Monday, deploying hundreds of soldiers in Tacloban, the capital of Leyte, to curb looting.

ng/ipj (AP, AFP, dpa)

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