Typhoon Haiyan: Philippines gets $1.3b from World Bank & Asian Development Bank

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines has received loan pledges totalling US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) to help rebuild areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan, after the World Bank on Monday matched an Asian Development Bank (ADB) offer.

In a statement, the World Bank said US$500 million was "being finalised to support reconstruction" following the devastating storm that tore through the disaster-prone country's central islands.

"We are committed to supporting the government in its effort to recover and rebuild, and to help Filipinos strengthen their resilience against increasingly frequent extreme weather events," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

The financial assistance was in response to a government request, the statement added, and came after the ADB last week said it stood ready to provide a US$500 million emergency loan.

"We are working in close collaboration with the government and all other international agencies to provide hope and rebuild the lives of more than 11 million people affected by what is being described as one of the Philippines' worst ever natural disasters," ADB President Takehiko Nakao said.

The ADB made the pledge as it said US$23 million in grants was being provided for immediate relief assistance.

Thousands of people died when Haiyan - packing some of the strongest winds ever recorded - smashed into the Philippines on November 8, generating tsunami-like waves that flattened entire communities and left up to four million people displaced.

Early estimates by analysts of the economic cost of the typhoon to the Philippines have been put at around US$14 billion.