Visiting flood-ravaged Philippines, UN aid chief pledges full support

12 October 2009
Residents use a makeshift raft to relocate children in this flooded section of Manila

The top United Nations emergency relief official arrived in the Philippines today, pledging full cooperation after two successive storms affected over 6 million people, killing more than 500 and displacing scores of thousands of others, and caused crop damage estimated at over $160 million.

“This is a major crisis, and a major tragedy for so many people. UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are glad to be able to help the Government’s relief efforts,” said Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, who toured flood-affected areas in Pasig City at the start of a two-day visit to see first-hand the strong emergency response to tropical storm Ketsana and typhoon Parma.

“Our cooperation has been exemplary so far, and we are determined to work together even more closely as the relief operations continue and early recovery operations start,” he added, noting the excellent response to the disaster by the Government, especially the extensive search and rescue operations and the quick release of emergency relief supplies.

Mr. Holmes, who conferred with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other senior Government officials as well as the UN humanitarian country team, met with families living in evacuation centres and others still living in flooded areas in Pasig City, part of the Manila (capital) metropolitan area and one of the hardest-hit districts.

A $74-million UN Flash Appeal launch on 6 October to support Government relief efforts has so far attracted $14.2 million in funding, or 19 per cent.

Tropical storm Ketsana, also known as Ondoy, made landfall in the Philippines on 26 September, causing severe flooding in the northern and southern parts of the country, including the capital, Manila. As of 12 October Ketsana had affected over 4 million people and caused widespread flooding. Over 300 people have been confirmed dead, and 37 are still missing.

One week into that relief effort typhoon Parma made hit the north, affecting another 2.3 million people, with 199 confirmed deaths and more than 100,000 sheltering in almost 300 evacuation centres.


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