Aid delivery to typhoon affected communities gathers pace; but much more is needed to respond to crisis
(Manila, 19 November 2013): The United Nations Humanitarian Chief, Valerie Amos, visited today Tacloban City and Guiuan, on the far eastern coast of Samar province, to assess progress on getting aid to communities left devastated in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Twelve days after one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded made landfall, relief efforts have gathered pace. Many of the logistical hurdles that hampered the response in the first days – roads clogged by debris, fuel shortages and lack of vehicles – are being addressed.
"Major progress has been made clearing rubble and debris from roads in Tacloban, since I was here a week ago and the relief operation has been scaled up substantially," said Ms. Amos today in Manila. "People are making every effort to rebuild their lives; women cooking and selling food; others were removing debris or providing support to their community."
Over the last few days, significant food and medical assistance has been provided in Tacloban, and water services, as well as limited telecommunications services restored. All residents now have access to clean drinking water, and hygiene kits are being distributed.
Ms. Amos also visited Guiuan, which was the first town hit by the typhoon as it came ashore on 8 November. The impact has been devastating, with entire towns completely wiped out. The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, will be setting up a coordination hub - which along with hubs already set up in Tacloban, Roxas, Ormoc and Cebu - will support the Government-led response across the vast area affected.
According to Government estimates, a staggering four million people have been displaced by the storm. Some 2.5 million people require food assistance. Access to safe water remains a major challenge in many areas, including in island towns. With over 500,000 homes completely destroyed, the need for emergency shelter and basic protection is enormous.
"A massive relief operation has been mounted by the international community in support of the Government-led response. It will need to be sustained over the coming weeks and months," commented USG Amos. "UN Member States, the private sector and the public have been extremely generous. National and local Government efforts, supported by the international community, are paying off, but it is clear that much more will be needed to respond to a crisis of this magnitude and help families recover."
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.