A day ahead of the launch of the Flash Appeal, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, announced an allocation of $7 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to enable humanitarian agencies to provide the most immediate life-saving assistance to those affected.
Although government agencies responded swiftly to the storms, launching extensive search and rescue operations and releasing emergency relief stocks, the extensive damage caused by the floods means that capacities of many local and national response agencies need to be supplemented.
Ketsana, known locally as "Ondoy," which struck on 26 September, came at a particularly bad time for the Philippines. Three previous typhoons had saturated affected areas before the recent heavy rainfall, exacerbating flooding. The storm swept across Manila and parts of Central Luzon, bringing the equivalent of one month's rain in just 12 hours. The waters rose so fast that people living in low-lying areas were caught unawares and had to stay on the roofs of their houses to avoid being swept away by the floods. About 80 percent of Manila, home to some 12 million people, was inundated. Overall, eight provinces were declared to be in a state of calamity.
According to the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), as of 6 October, 295 people have been reported killed and over 3.9 million affected by tropical storm Ketsana. At least 335,700 people are currently in 559 evacuation shelters. Approximately 16,000 houses were destroyed by the storm and subsequent flooding. At least 22,800 homes were partially damaged.
Initial reports from typhoon Parma, which struck northern Philippines on 3 October, indicate that nearly 340,000 people are affected, with 16 confirmed deaths. More than 85,800 people are sheltering in 460 evacuation centres, according to NDCC.
"As often in these kinds of disasters, it is the most vulnerable who are worst affected. We are counting on the generosity of donors to enable us to provide assistance quickly," said Mr. Holmes. "Flood-related disasters can lead to even worse humanitarian consequences, not least the risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases, if the response is delayed," he added.
The Flash Appeal was developed in partnership with the Philippines National Disaster Management Agency. Appealing organisations include non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Philippines National Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Organization for Migration and United Nations agencies.
Priority projects in the Flash Appeal cover food, drinking water, sanitation, and shelter and household items. The storm also seriously disrupted the health sector, with many local health professionals in the affected areas themselves victims of the flooding.
Access to the worst-affected areas and the restoration of water services and electricity requires extensive clearing operations. The restoration of schools being used as evacuation centres and education for displaced children are also priorities.
The Flash Appeal will be revised after one month when a clearer picture of humanitarian needs, including early recovery, will have emerged after more detailed assessments.
The $7 million allocation from CERF will fund initial relief efforts of the World Food Programme, United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Population Fund, World Health Organisation and the International Organization for Migration.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.