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EU sends emergency aid to typhoon-hit Philippines

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(BRUSSELS) - The European Union said Tuesday it is providing emergency shelters, safe drinking water and food to people hit by Typhoon Ketsana and stands ready to help in Vietnam and Laos.

The EU's executive arm said it was sending two million euros (2.90 million dollars) worth of emergency aid that also includes clothing, blankets and telecommunications equipment.

"The fast-track funding that we are deploying will focus on meeting the most urgent humaitarian needs in the stricken areas," EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement.

The European Union "also stands ready to provide emergency assistance to Vietnam and Laos if necessary," he added.

Typhoon Ketsana slammed into Vietnam on Tuesday, killing at least 22 people during floods and landslides that caused almost 170,000 people to flee their homes, officials said.

The death toll in Vietnam added to at least 246 who died in the Philippines when Ketsana, then a weaker tropical storm, devastated Manila at the weekend.

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