After visiting typhoon-affected communities in the Philippines last week, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh reported progress in relief efforts but said the Philippines needs more help to recover, according to the ASEAN Secretariat.

Minh said there is progress in relief distribution as well as in managing assistance from local and international communities. However, he emphasised that due to the massive scale of the calamity brought upon the country by Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines needs continuous support to restore normality and even bring progress in disaster-stricken communities.

The ASEAN chief on November 25 presented his observations to members of the diplomatic community and the media after leading a team of ASEAN humanitarian specialists who visited the Philippines to see how the association can further the Philippines as the country moves gradually from relief to rehabilitation mode.

"The devastation is massive but we know that the resilience of the people in this country is even greater. ASEAN will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippines in restoring hope and progress in these communities," Minh said on his arrival in this typhoon-ravaged city.

According to government data, the damage in terms of infrastructure and agriculture is estimated at over 22 billion Philippine Pesos as of 23 November.

"Two weeks after Haiyan, we still saw signs of a catastrophe in Tacloban as the survivors move on with their lives. But the Philippines has mobilised the entire government machinery to address relief and recovery needs in the affected areas. The support of the international community has been very significant and ASEAN itself will mobilise all available means to help the Philippines get back on its feet," he said at the briefing.

"ASEAN will continue to work with the member states in providing the help that matters most to the Philippines at this time."

He said that ASEAN will mobilise the sectoral bodies within the association such as health, transportation and communication, disaster management, etc. to support long-term recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the country.-VNA