UN humanitarian office announces 25 mln USD for typhoon relief in Philippines

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 12 (PNA/Xinhua) — The United Nations humanitarian relief office on Monday released 25 million U.S. dollars in quick response to the devastation caused by a super typhoon which ripped through the Philippines over the weekend.

John Ging, director of the Operation Division for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the funds were released from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund ( CERF) “to enable humanitarian agencies to mobilize their response quickly.”

As one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, the super typhoon Haiyan cut a path of destruction through several central islands across the Philippines, leaving the seaside city of Tacloban in ruins and leading to an early estimates of as many as 10,000 dead, reports said.

Haiyan, the biggest typhoon recorded in almost a century, has affected nearly 9.8 million people and displaced an estimated 660,000 people, Ging said at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

“The devastation has been huge … all of our efforts are on mobilizing very quickly and on responding on an equally massive scale,” Ging said.

Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, is set to arrive in the island country on Tuesday to launch a flash appeal in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, UN officials said.

“We are very much in support and we are focused, first and foremost, on the requirements for food, shelter support and medical support, to prevent the outbreak of public health disasters,” Ging said, adding that it is a priority to bury the bodies of those that perished in the deluge.

Overcoming logistical constraints is also a challenge due to the damage to infrastructure, roads, and airports, Ging said.

“The scale of devastation also impacts the capacity to get aid to the people where they most need it. Clean drinking water is a very big priority right now.”

On Friday, Amos, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator, said, “UN agencies and humanitarian partners are working hard to support the government and local authorities in their efforts to help people. We have deployed specialist teams, vital logistics support and dispatched critical supplies — but we have to do more and faster.”

According to OCHA, UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration will use CERF funding to provide emergency food assistance, supply emergency shelter materials and household items, assist with the provision of emergency health services, safe water supplies and sanitation facilities for the most vulnerable.

The funding will also be used for critical protection, nutrition and emergency activities, camp coordination and management, and logistics to enable a coordinated rapid relief response.(PNA/Xinhua)