Hanoi: The typhoon that struck Vietnam last week had caused almost $800 million worth of damage, a United Nations official in the country said Wednesday.
The latest estimate came as the country invited foreign non-government groups (NGOs) already working in the country to provide additional assistance, said Ugo Blanco, who is coordinating disaster response for the United Nations.
“This appeal was launched yesterday,” he said.
Although the appeal did not specify a target amount, the government’s estimate of damage across 14 provinces has risen to $785 million, Blanco said.
According to government data released on Monday, the typhoon killed 163 people and left 17 missing when it struck on 29 September after killing at least 295 people in the Philippines.
Aid workers say victims need food, water and sanitation assistance.
“We have the first indications that there are some water-borne diseases,” including diarrhoea and skin problems, Blanco said. He did not have a figure for the number of people who have become ill.
Apart from NGO assistance, foreign governments have already announced about three million dollars worth of emergency aid, Blanco said.
An estimated three million people in Vietnam have been affected by the typhoon, said the Red Cross, which on Friday launched an international appeal for $4.75 million to help 210,000 of the neediest victims.
The United States said Wednesday it had provided another $500,000 to support the Red Cross appeal, on top of $100,000 given earlier.
While emergency relief is urgently needed, the government said the rebuilding of houses, schools and medical clinics had already begun.
Vietnam suffers annually from tropical storms and typhoons, but this disaster is one of the worst to hit the nation in recent years.