U.N. calls for urgent help for Philippine farmers after typhoon

Reuters
A farmer uproots weeds at a rice farm inside the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos
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A farmer uproots weeds at a rice farm inside the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute in …

ROME (Reuters) - Philippine farmers need urgent assistance to avoid a "double tragedy" befalling rural survivors of the typhoon that hit the country earlier this month, the United Nations' food agency said on Wednesday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said more than $11 million is needed to help clean and clear agricultural land and de-silt irrigation canals in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 3,900 people when it struck on November 8.

That is in addition to the $20 million already requested by FAO to help farmers fertilize, irrigate and maintain their crops to ensure the next harvests in 2014, the Rome-based agency said in a statement.

"It would be a double tragedy if next spring farming families still needed to rely on continued humanitarian food assistance because we haven't been able to support them as they recover from this disaster," said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division.

(Reporting By Catherine Hornby)

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