As fresh reports came in of the death and destruction caused by flooding and landslides in the Philippines, United Nations agencies today stepped up their relief operations, deploying a team of experts to help the Government assess the extent of the damage and coordinate the international response.
The UN has already made emergency cash grants available for the purchase of relief supplies and will determine whether to launch an appeal for the stricken country next week.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is concentrating its efforts on search and rescue operations. The agency also plans to examine water source contamination levels and structural damage to health institutions.
For now, the Philippines needs inflatable boats to reach the affected persons, clean water, medicine, body bags and shelter, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today sent his condolences to the families of the deceased and to all those affected by the catastrophe.
In a statement issued by his spokesman he said he was "profoundly saddened" by the large-scale loss of life and destruction.