Thursday, 18 December 2014

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UN launches $301 million appeal for the Philippines

Photo: UNICEF

The United Nations have asked for $301 million aid for the Philippines.

  The UN appeal, for nearly a third of a billion dollars, is made to finance humanitarian assistance to typhoon hit regions of the Philippines.Aid workers are labouring around the clock to get in urgently needed survival supplies, such as food, clean water, shelter and basic medicines.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos launched the $301 million flash appeal from Manila, the capital, where she is surveying the damage by Typhoon Haiyan which ripped through nine regions in south-east Asia over the weekend.
More than 11 million people are believed to have been affected by the storm, and some 673,000 displaced.

"The appeal of $301 million covers an initial period of six months," said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesperson, Jens Laerke, in Geneva. "The humanitarian community continues to scale up its operations to provide lifesaving aid. Many areas do remain inaccessible, we are reaching into them little by little."

"Water supply and power are cut. Much of the food stocks and other goods are destroyed. Many health facilities are not functioning and medical supplies [are] quickly being exhausted," the UN humanitarian relief arm said in its latest action plan update.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the Government to set up field hospitals, as personnel and medical supplies are arriving in the country.

The health needs during the disaster are "significant", the agency said, made worse by crowded living conditions and contaminated drinking water which can lead to the spread of infectious diseases.

"With another tropical storm expected to hit the Philippines later this week, the need for safe water and sanitation facilities is critical," WHO said.

 

Haiyan - named "Yolanda" by Philippine authorities - struck the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar last Friday. It was one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated before the typhoon arrived, but many evacuation centres were unable to withstand the winds and storm surges.

Haiyan brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph) and waves as high as 15m (45ft).

The typhoon then headed west, sweeping through six central Philippine islands and into Vietnam, where state media said at least 13 people had died.

At least six were also reported killed in southern China, after Haiyan tore through Hainan province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region over the weekend, state media reports.

As the magnitude of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan unfolds, the United Nations and its partners are mounting a massive humanitarian operation, battling heavy rains, blocked roads and damaged airstrips and seaports to reach millions across the region desperate for food, water and other basic necessities.

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