Typhoon Haiyan: World Bank raises aid package to almost $1.25b

MANILA (REUTERS) - The World Bank said it raised to almost US$1 billion (S$1.25b) its financial aid package to support relief and reconstruction in typhoon-devastated areas in the central Philippines, as the toll of death and destruction kept rising more than two weeks after the storm.

The World Bank said it offered US$480 million on top of a US$500 million emergency loan it committed earlier to the Philippines, with the additional funds to be used for the early rebuilding of communities and crucial infrastructure such as water, rural roads, schools and clinics.

The government has started compiling a typhoon reconstruction plan that needs support from Congress, the private sector and donors, a campaign that will likely shape the legacy of President Benigno Aquino, who is facing the region's most daunting rebuilding task since the 2004 Asian tsunami.

On Saturday, the national disaster agency said the death toll from Haiyan had risen to 5,235 from 5,209, with more than 1,600 still missing and over 4 million displaced people.

Apart from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank also pledged a US$523 million loan and grant package to the Philippines, as foreign governments and international aid agencies committed about US$344 million in cash and relief goods.

The government initially estimated the reconstruction cost to reach as much as US$5.8 billion, with more than 1 million houses totally or partly destroyed and about 23 billion pesos (S$65.4 million) worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure.