United Nations humanitarian agencies are arriving in the central Philippine island of Bohol to assist the Government with the response to a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday and which has so far affected more than 3 million people.
According to national authorities, 144 people have died and more than 290 have been injured as a result of the quake, which was centred within two miles of Carmen town, north of Mindanao.
An update issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Philippines said that the quake triggered landslides engulfing entire homes, ripping apart bridges and tearing down centuries-old churches. Seven cities in three different provinces are affected.
The Government and the Philippine Red Cross have mobilized emergency response teams and ambulances, while humanitarian agencies – including UN agencies – are arriving in Bohol to support needs assessments, camp coordination and management, basic relief supplies and logistics.
The World Food Programme (WFP), for example, has pre-positioned stock piles of rice, high energy biscuits and non-food items such as generator sets, tents and mobile offices.
A joint Government and OCHA team has completed a preliminary assessment in Carmen town, reporting that there is an urgent need for medical supplies and clean drinking water. Half of the homes in the epicentre have been destroyed or damaged.
“As a result, people are now sleeping in the open or beside their homes. With rainfall expected, living conditions of displaced communities are expected to deteriorate,” noted the update.