Number of Danes missing in Philippines continues to fall

As communication improves, those waiting at home hear a little good news

The number of Danes still listed as missing in the Philippines has now fallen to 17, with only one person from the official registry of Danes living in the Philippines still unaccounted for. The other 16 have been reported by relatives as being in the Philippines.

“Communication is difficult because the infrastructure is so badly affected,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Søren Vøhtz told DR Nyheder. “There is no telephone service or electricity to charge mobile phones, so contact is difficult.”

Some Danes had left the area before the typhoon hit, but forgot to update their status on the Foreign Ministry website. There were 112 Danes on the official list as Typhoon Haiyan barreled ashore. All but one has been located.

Vøhtz urged any Danes in the Philippines to check in with the Foreign Ministry.

“We are trying to get in touch with those still unaccounted for by calling, writing emails and checking Facebook,” said Vøhtz. “We are still looking.”

Aid increased
As the search for the remaining missing Danes continues, the amount of aid Denmark is sending to the Philippines is being boosted.

Following a UN appeal for more aid from around the world, the development minister, Christian Friis Bach (R), announced that Denmark would increase its contribution to 42.5 million kroner, with funds divided between various UN and Red Cross organisations. A large part of the money is going to help children affected by the disaster. Denmark's initial aid amount was set at ten million kroner.

In a glimmer of good news from the storm-ravaged region, Benigno Aquino, the president of the Philippines, said that the death toll from Haiyan may be lower than first thought. Aquino said that the number of 10,000 dead that has been quoted extensively is “too high” and that the real figure is more likely somewhere around 2,500.

The UN says more than eleven million people are believed to have been affected and some 673,000 displaced. Aid is still slow in coming to some areas and there are reports of looting and deaths caused by struggles to obtain what few resources are available.