Statement at the presentation of the "Revised Typhoon Bopha/Pablo Response – Action Plan for Recovery" - UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Phlippines Luiza Carvalho

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 25 Jan 2013

Friday, 25 January 2013, Manila Checked against delivery


In the weeks since Pablo hit Southern Mindanao the breadth and extension of the damage has become even clearer. More than one month on, over 6.2 million people have been affected and close to 850,000 remain displaced. More than 210,000 houses, vital public infrastructure, and vast tracts of agricultural land has been severely damaged or destroyed. More than 1,060 lives were lost, and over 800 others are still missing.

Typhoon Pablo was the most deadly storm globally in 2012, and reportedly the most powerful to hit Southern Mindanao in more than 100 years. It had three times the wind speed and double the rainfall of Tropical Storm Sendong/Washi which devastated Northern Mindanao in 2011. Just as a point for comparison; when Hurricane Sandy hit the coast of the United States in October last year, it was rated as a category 1 storm. Pablo was a category five Super Typhoon, which hit villages and vulnerable farming communities.

When talking about numbers this big, it can sometimes be difficult to fully comprehend, but it is important to remember that these are families – mothers, daughters, fathers and sons – whose lives have been irreparably damaged. And who urgently need our support. They are the human face of this emergency.

Today, on behalf of the humanitarian community in the Philippines, I am asking for US$76 million to provide immediate life-saving assistance to survivors of Typhoon Pablo, and to help families on the path to restoring their livelihoods. The amount represents a 17 per cent increase from the $65 million requested on 10 December at the onset of the disaster. As I mentioned on the occasion of the first appeal launch in Davao, is the remarkable, positive, “can do” spirit of the Filipino people. Over the last few weeks, we have seen that spirit at every level: From the local volunteers donating their time or personal resources, to the municipal, provincial, regional and national response. The spirit, expertise and commitment I have witnessed is truly impressive. The leadership and personal commitment of Secretary Soliman, in particular, should be commended, as should the actions undertaken by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

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