Australia boosts Philippines aid to US$28 mil

SYDNEY (Nov 14, 2013): Australia pledged Thursday a further Aus$20 million (RM60 mil) for relief efforts in the battered Philippines and said it will deploy extra defence staff to help deal with the disaster.

The funding hike takes Australia's contribution to Aus$30 million in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the country, destroying life, property and infrastructure.

"As a good friend and neighbour, Australia stands beside the Philippines as it deals with this humanitarian disaster," Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office said in a statement.

The additional money will be used to address serious nutrition, child health and protection needs, purchase emergency food and provide logistic support.

Two Australian aircraft are already in the Philippines, arriving on Wednesday evening to transport doctors, paramedics and medical equipment from Cebu to worst-hit Tacloban.

The statement said another C-130 Hercules transport aircraft would leave soon, with a fourth plane on standby, while the amphibious landing vessel HMAS Tobruk was being diverted to the Philippines. – AFP