Philippines thanks world for help after typhoon

Messages thanking the global community for its help after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit part of the Philippines last November lit up electronic billboards across nine cities around the world on Saturday.

The thank-you ads will run for about three weeks on billboards in places that include New York's Times Square, Tokyo's Shibuya Crossing and Singapore's Ion Orchard. They were bought by the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) as part of a worldwide campaign to express gratitude for the outpouring of aid, in cash and kind, during the crisis.

The typhoon - one of the most powerful storms in history to make landfall, ravaged nine regions in the Philippines when it struck on Nov 8 last year. It caused more than 6,000 deaths and affected some 14.1 million people. "This Feb 8... exactly three months after the typhoon, we want to be one in expressing our gratitude," said the DOT on its Twitter account.

Parts of the Philippines affected by Haiyan are shifting into an "early recovery phase", and rebuilding effort is expected to take at least four years and require more than US$8 billion (S$10 billion) in funding. The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) has so far raised more than $10 million in donations. It has committed $2.5 million towards the first phase of its rebuilding and rehabilitation projects.