UN’s post-storm aid efforts in the Philippines focus on assisting farmers

27 October 2009
Survivors line up for water at a community wiped out by devastating floods by Ketsana in the Philippines capital Manila

Helping farmers rebuild their livelihoods has become one of the priorities of relief and recovery efforts in the wake of the recent deadly typhoons that pummelled the Philippines, the United Nations humanitarian wing reported today as it called on donors to step up funding for its appeal.

So far $22.4 million has been received – or just 30 per cent of the $74 million that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and its aid partners requested in the flash appeal issued following Typhoon Ketsana (also known as Ondoy) and Typhoon Parma.

The two storms over the past month have collectively killed more than 500 people, displaced thousands of others and left a trail of destruction among homes, schools and critical farmland across the Asian archipelago.

OCHA reported today that a joint preliminary assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Filipino agricultural authorities estimates that between 100,000 and 120,000 farming households lost all of their production and assets as a result of the storms.

Emergency supplies of rice, vegetable seeds and fertilizers and the repair of damaged small-scale irrigation systems should be the highest priorities ahead of the expected dry season in November and December, according to the assessment.

OCHA warned that if extra support is not provided to the farmers, the next harvest season will be significantly affected and many households will struggle to ensure there is enough food.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is also using the joint agricultural assessment to determine its strategy for providing food assistance for the next five months. The agency is in the process of dispatching 4,800 tons of rice and another 10,000 tons are expected to follow soon.

One of the other major concerns of aid agencies in the Philippines is the rise in the number of cases of leptospirosis, a waterborne disease, and a team of experts from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network has arrived in Manila, the capital, after a request from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and national health officials.


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