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Typhoon Morakot Situation Report No. 2

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

This report was issued by OCHA HQ in New York. It covers the period from 19 August to 27 August 2009.

I. HIGHLIGHTS/KEY PRIORITIES

- 469 deaths confirmed, over 254 people still missing.

- More than 785,000 households directly affected.

- United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams deployed to Taipei and Beijing.

- Transition from emergency relief phase to early recovery phase signaled.

II. Situation Overview

As of 26 August, according to authorities in Taipei, Typhoon Morakot had claimed 461 lives, and left 254 missing. In Kaohsiung County alone, 392 deaths were reported. 769,159 households have been directly affected, with more than 6,000 displaced individuals housed in emergency temporary shelters.

The agriculture authorities in Taipei estimate a direct loss of TWD 14.5 billion (US$450 million) in agriculture, forestry, fishing and herding sectors. Heave rainfall related to the typhoon has damaged nearly 4,900 hectares of agricultural land in Pingtung, Chiayi, Taitung and Kaohsiung Counties. Regarding infrastructure, most of the provincial highways and river dykes have been repaired. But there are a number of remote villages where road access needs to be re-established.

In the five most affected provinces in mainland China; Fujian, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Anhui and Ziangsu; eight people have been reported dead so far, and more than 16,000 houses as damaged. Around 14.3 million people are estimated to be affected by the typhoon.

III. Humanitarian Needs and Response

Needs Assessments

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) fielded two United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) missions, one each to Beijing and to Taipei this week. These two missions, in consultation with relevant authorities and humanitarian partners in the affected areas, will assess residual humanitarian needs for which international assistance could be mobilized, and will ascertain whether OCHA with its partners could support the authorities in preparing for future disasters.

The first UNDAC team reached Taipei on 24 August. On 26 August, this team visited the seven most affected villages in Kaohsiung County. During the field visit, the team observed that there is a large and seemingly well coordinated capacity of government as well as civilian actors on the ground. Search and rescue operations are still ongoing. Helicopters and ferries have been delivering supplies to villages that are remote and those that do not have road access. Local township officials conduct daily headcounts and checks on the health of the population. The affected population are also coordinating amongst themselves to come up with a comprehensive proposal on relocation and housing alternatives, memorials for the deceased and missing, and the decision on when to stop digging for missing bodies, which will be submitted to the local authorities for consideration. On 27 August, the team visited the southern coastal area in Pingtung County where a massive clean-up operation involving 13,000 people is ongoing, as the low-lying areas are covered with silt and sand.

The disaster relief team deployed by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been focusing their support to the internally displaced persons housed in the temporary shelters in Kaohsiung County. The JICA team, which comprise epidemic prevention and sanitation specialists, have not yet come across any serious health problems in the shelters. However, they are going to recommend alternative shelter options to the authorities so as to lessen the concentration of displaced persons as well as to preempt the risk of disease outbreaks. Both the JICA and UNDAC teams are scheduled to depart Taipei on 28 August.

Another UNDAC team reached Beijing on 26 August. On 27 August, the team met with the Deputy Director General of the Chinese National Committee for Disaster Reduction, Department of Disaster Relief, Ministry of Civil Affairs, where potential areas for cooperation were discussed, including reconstruction of housing, restoration of infrastructure, environmental impact issues and geographic hazard management. In the afternoon of the same day, the UNDAC team traveled to Wenzhou, Zhejiang, the most affected Province on the mainland. The UNDAC team then plans to travel to Fujian Province after assessing outstanding needs in Zhejiang.

Response

On 20 August, signifying the end of the emergency response phase, the Taipei Central Disaster Response Operations Center stood down, and transferred responsibilities to a newly established Reconstruction Advancement Commission. To support the work of this Commission, Taipei approved a special TWD 100 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) budget for typhoon reconstruction on 20 August.

The United States Pacific Command of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has concluded humanitarian operations in Taipei and affected Counties. DoD cargo planes and helicopters conducted a total of 55 missions delivering 20 pieces of excavation equipment and relief supplies to affected areas.

The Government of Japan continues to provide relief supplies to Kaohsiung County. In the past week, the Republic of Korea and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency have donated first aid kits and water purifiers.

600 of the 1,000 pre-fabricated houses donated by the mainland have reached Taipei. The mainland has also sent technicians to help install the pre-fabricated houses in the typhoon affected areas.

IV. Coordination

OCHA, through its offices in New York, Geneva and Bangkok continues to monitor ongoing response initiatives, as well as liaise with relevant government authorities and partners.

V. Funding

The international community continues to express concern and send donations to assist authorities in Taipei to conduct residual relief and reconstruction activities. Till date, 77 countries, the European Union and 20 international organizations have donated funds to authorities in Taipei worth a total of TWD 137 million (US$4.2 million approximately). There have been in-kind donations of relief supplies as well.

VI. Contact

Please contact:

Ms. Agnes Asekenye-Oonyu, Chief, Asia Pacific Section, OCHA New York
Email: Asekenye-oonyu@un.org, Telephone: +1 212 963 1773, Mobile: +1 917 476 6164

Ms. Aditee Maskey, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, Asia Pacific Section, OCHA New York
Email: maskeya@un.org, Telephone: +1 212 963 5131, Mobile: +1 805 696 5781

Mr. Anvar Munavvarov, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, OCHA Geneva
Email: munavvarov@un.org, Telephone: + 41 22 917 14 89

Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Spokesperson/PIU Manager, OCHA New York
Email: bunker@un.org, Telephone: +1 917 367 5126, Mobile: +1 917 892 1679

Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, Spokesperson/Information Officer, OCHA Geneva
Email: byrs@un.org, Telephone: +41 22 917 2653, Mobile: +41 79 473 4570

The mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.