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Philippines: funds desperately needed for millions devastated by typhoons, UN says

Philippines: funds desperately needed for millions devastated by typhoons, UN says

Only 7 per cent of the total funds needed to allow millions to recover from destructive typhoons that have struck the Philippines since last September have been received, the United Nations and its partners announced today.

The UN and its partners appealed for $46 million in December after four successive typhoons left over 1,400 people dead or missing in their wake and affected more than 7 million. Thus far, apart from Canada and the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), very few donors have made substantial contributions.

“Funds are needed immediately to implement urgently needed assistance and to kickstart crucial recovery measures,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press release.

Of the millions affected, the most vulnerable include a half million people in the Bicol region alone who need emergency shelter kits so that they can leave crowded evacuation centres. Those whose lives have been disrupted will require food aid as well as clean water, sanitation facilities and strengthened health systems to ward off potential disease outbreaks.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in the Bicol region and others devastated by the typhoons will receive assistance more quickly and be able to start rebuilding their lives if the humanitarian community receives the necessary funding to provide emergency aid,” said Nileema Noble, UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines.

The World Food Programme (WFP), in conjunction with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Care, the Philippines National Red Cross and Plan, is distributing food aid to almost 100,000 in three provinces, and plan to bolster assistance over the coming months.

Although diseases such as diarrhoea spread by crowded conditions and poor hygiene facilities have been kept under control, there is still a need to strengthen the disease surveillance system, as well as rehabilitate damaged hospitals and clinics. The UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the NGO Medicins Sans Frontieres and the health ministries of Indonesia and Malaysia, among other organizations, have provided the Philippines Department of Health with much-needed emergency health kits, medical supplies, maternal health kits and roving health care teams.

UNICEF is also joining with the NGO Oxfam and other partners to secure clean water supplies and safe sanitation, especially for people living in overcrowded evacuation centres.