• Japan boosts financial and humanitarian aid

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    The Japanese government has boosted its relief assistance to the Philippines as it announced an additional $10 million emergency grant aid and $607,000 worth of relief goods for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, which devastated about 35 provinces and left Tacloban City virtually a “ghost town.”

    A statement from the Japanese Embassy in Manila said the $10 million emergency grant aid “to support humanitarian assistance activities through international organizations.”

    “In the face of the serious damages and in light of strong bonds existing between Japan and the Philippines as strategic partners, the government of Japan is providing these emergency humanitarian assistance for those affected,” the embassy said.

    The relief goods provided by Japan included plastic sheets for shelters, sleeping pads and other necessary commodities “which are expected to alleviate the difficulties of the affected people.”

    Earlier, the Japanese government already dispatched the Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Medical Team that consists of 25 members for medical activities in the affected areas.

    Also, the Japanese government dispatched personnel from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JICA for the damage assessment. Two JICA experts joined the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (Undac) force for coordination with international donors.

    According to the UN Action Plan, some 11.3 million people were affected in at least 36 provinces while 673,000 were displaced. Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) is said to be the most powerful storm ever recorded, being 3.5 times stronger than Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005. BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON

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