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Rich typhoon evacuees vow to rebuild central Philippines.

Manila: Rich people who have been living in Manila since Typhoon Haiyan wrecked their homes in central Philippines on November 8, have vowed to return home and join in the rebuilding of their beloved hometown.

"I want to return to Tacloban. I want to die there," said Briccio Aguilos, 84, a former judge of a regional trial court.

His wife Teresa Aguilos expressed the same sentiment, but added they would wait for their damaged house to be fully refurbished before returning to Tacloban City.

Dulz Cuna, an artist and professor of the University of the Philippines in Tacloban said she would be "part of the rebuilding of Tacloban City".

She gained prominence right after the storm because she painted the roof of her building in Tacloban with these words, "Help, UP President [Alfred] Pascual."

Her son took her out of Tacloban and brought her to Manila.

"Up to now, I still have nightmares about the storm," said Cuna, adding that those who survived the storm, rich or poor, need post-trauma counselling.

A lot of wealthy people who lost their homes in Tacloban City, one of the 44 provinces that were heavily devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, often talk about recurring nightmares.

UN plea

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has pleaded for more money to help some five million poor people who lost their homes in Tacloban and other hard hit provinces because of Typhoon Haiyan.

The UNHCR asked from donors $19.2 million (Dh70.5 million), higher than the $8.3 million that was raised earlier for people with low incomes who were displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, said Bernard Kerblat, UNHCR representative in the Philippines.

More money is needed to buy 98,600 plastic sheets, 7,500 tents and 19,000 solar lanterns, UNHCR said.

Those who have been staying at evacuation centres are vulnerable to diseases, and those who lost loved ones are often affected by homesickness and psychological imbalance, said Kerblat, adding that typhoon survivors should not remain vulnerable.

About 11 million people in 44 provinces were affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Some five million of them lost their homes. But only 125,000 are living in hastily established evacuation centres.

Since the construction of bunkhouses is yet to be completed, there has been an exodus of survivors to Manila, nearby Cebu, and Catbalogan, in Samar province which escaped the typhoon's wrath.

Earlier, the UN appealed from member countries to raise a total of $348 million (Dh1.27 billion) worth of aid and relief assistance to those who survived Typhoon Haiyan.

The Philippine government has received just half that amount, Manila's Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

The typhoon has killed 7.459, including 1,779 missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Dec 4, 2013
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