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7 OCTOBER 2009
UN APPEALS FOR $74 MILLION TO HELP FLOOD VICTIMS IN PHILIPPINES
Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said the flash appeal for $74 million in humanitarian assistance is the largest ever for the Philippines and is intended to address the needs of the more than one million victims in the next six months.
Ambassador Davide said the flash appeal was launched in Geneva by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and was developed in partnership with the National Disaster Coordinating Council of the Philippines.
The organizations that made the appeal to the international donor community for humanitarian assistance include UN agencies, the Philippines National Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross. The appeal will be revised after a month.
“The comprehensive flash appeal prepared by OCHA presents a much-needed lifeline that the Government of the Philippines has to resort to due to the extraordinary level of death, destruction and dislocation, brought about by typhoons Ketsana and Parma,” Ambassador Davide said during a briefing at the UN Headquarters on Monday.
United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, who met last week with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo in New York, said OCHA has allocated $7 million for the Philippines emergency from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), set up to finance sudden-onset or under-funded crises.
OCHA estimates place the number of fatalities from tropical storm Ketsana at 300 with approximately 16,000 houses destroyed and 23,000 partially damaged. Some 400,000 people are living in emergency shelters around Manila, 80 per cent of which remains inundated.
Another 16 people were killed and around 70,000 were displaced by typhoon Parma that struck the northern part of the country a few days after Ketsana. As much as $120 million worth of agriculture produce was lost. OCHA said it expects the number of people being housed in evacuation centers to rise to 100,000.
According to the United Nations, of the $74 million being requested, the UN World Food Program (WFP) is requesting $26 million to fund its three-month emergency operation, already underway, to support the Philippine Government’s efforts by providing rice, beans and other food in the worst-hit areas of Manila and surrounding areas.
The agency is also giving logistical support, including helicopters and inflatable boats, to allow humanitarian agencies to access remote areas and assist flood victims. “Many needy people live in areas that still remain inaccessible because of the widespread flooding,” said Stephen Anderson, WFP Country Director for the Philippines.
Seven boats, the first of 30 requested by the Government, have arrived in Manila, while two of three helicopters, also asked for by authorities, are set to land in the country tomorrow.
“Without these boats and helicopters, the massive Government-led relief effort would not be able to reach people who are really desperate, sometimes neck-deep in water,” Anderson said,
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on the other hand, has identified access to drinking water, which is one of the major concerns among victims in addition to health risks posed by overfilled evacuation centers.
The UNICEF, which is asking for nearly $13 million from the flash appeal, has already distributed hundreds of hygiene kids, and its Executive Director Ann Veneman is set to visit Manila to assess the situation first-hand.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which has sent medical supplies for the victims after 24 hospitals and health centers have been rendered inoperable by flooding, is asking for $7 million.###
ELMER G. CATO First Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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