BRUSSELS - The European Union (EU) will make an initial donation of $17 million in aid to typhoon-hit Philippines as the world responds to the disaster crisis which has killed thousands.
Desperation has gripped the Philippine islands after Typhoon Haiyan as survivors have begun looting in disaster areas amidst panics over delays in supplies of food, water and medicine.
More the 670,000 people have been displaced by the storm and nearly 12 percent of the population directly affected, the United Nations said.
European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, is cutting short her trip to China to visit disaster-hit areas in the Philippines.
"We have mobilised first financial assistance - 17 million dollars - we will do more once we get a clear pictures of the needs. Secondly, thirteen of our members states have already deployed to deliver in-kind assistance - water purification units, shelter, medical needs - much needed, also food, because the people there are desperate to get life saving assistance immediately," she said in Beijing.
Georgieva will be joining the EU disaster and relief coordination team in the Philippines on Thursday (November 14) to survey the disaster areas and what relief needs must be met.
China's government has promised $100,000 in aid to Manila, along with another $100,000 through the Chinese Red Cross along with over 1,000 tents and blankets- far less than pledged by other economic heavyweights around the world.
Some experts say China has wasted a chance to build goodwill with a Southeast Asian neighbour.
"Yes, we all have to show in a moment like this to offer a helping hand, because it is morally right, but also because in the future we all may need it. And this concept of solidarity is crucial, and I am convinced that China, a country that itself suffers enormous hits of nature, will extend it to those who need it the most," Georgieva said.
China's ties with the Philippines are already fragile as a decades-old territorial squabble over the South China Sea enters a more contentious chapter, with claimant nations spreading deeper into disputed waters in search of energy supplies, while building up their navies.
Japan has offered $10 million in aid and is sending in an emergency relief team, for instance, while Australia has donated $9.6 million.