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By Rosemarie Francisco and Lesley Wroughton
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines Dec 18 The United
States will provide an additional $25 million in humanitarian
aid to the Philippines for typhoon relief, raising to $86
million its assistance to its major ally, U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry said on Wednesday.
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest ever to hit land, wiped
out almost everything in its path when it crossed the central
Philippines last month, killing at least 6,069 people, and
leaving nearly 1,800 missing and 4 million with partially or
totally damaged homes.
"It is really quite stunning, it looks like a war zone in
every respect, and in many ways, for a lot of people, it is,"
Kerry told reporters outside a tent city built by U.S. forces in
Tacloban City, where about 86 percent of the dead were from.
"This is a devastation that is unlike anything I have seen
at this kind of scale. It's many tornadoes that I have seen in
America wrapped into one," said Kerry, who is in the Philippines
for the first time as secretary of state.
Kerry arrived in the ravaged city on a small military
aircraft and noted that the original Tacloban airport was built
by U.S. forces after General Douglas MacArthur arrived in the
same province of Leyte to lead the liberation of the Philippines
from Japanese hands towards the end of World War Two.
Within days of the Nov. 8 typhoon, the U.S. military sent
about 50 ships and aircraft, including the aircraft carrier USS
George Washington and escort ships, to help distribute food,
water and other supplies, and hundreds of soldiers to clear
"It demonstrated the enduring partnership between two
allies, not only in good times but in trying times as well,"
Kerry said, adding that the United States was committed to
supporting the Philippines.
President Benigno issued a new appeal for help on Wednesday
as the government unveiled its reconstruction plan, estimated at
361 billion pesos ($8.2 billion). He promised corruption-free
use of aid.
"Every dollar of funding assistance will be used in as
efficient and lasting a manner as possible," Aquino said.
The Philippines and the United States have been negotiating
a new security agreement allowing wider and more prolonged
access for the U.S. military in its former colony.
Kerry also said U.S. firms Citigroup, Coca Cola Co.
, and Procter and Gamble were helping with recovery
efforts, with Coke and P&G helping shops repair and restock
their shelves in typhoon-hit areas.
(Additional reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Robert Birsel)