UN brings aid to storm-struck Philippines

(New York: 6 December 2004) - In the aftermath of a series of storms that pounded the Philippines last week, UN agencies are working together to respond to needs created by the disaster.
Though floodwaters are receding in most areas, access to the provinces hardest hit by the storms---Aurora, Nueva Ecija, and Quezon---remains possible only by boat and helicopter. Since its arrival on Saturday the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) has had meetings with the UN's in-country Disaster Management Team, (UNDMT), The Philippines National Disaster Coordination Council (NDCC), donors and NGOs to discuss the best way to meet and assess emergency needs in these conditions.

The United Nations Development Programme has provided the Philippines disaster response agency with kits containing emergency supplies for 10,000 families. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has also provided emergency supplies including food, water purification tablets and clothing. The World Health Organization is working with the Philippines Ministry of Health to distribute combat outbreaks of gastro-enteritis, which are especially likely to effect children. Further, the WHO is warning that malaria outbreaks can be expected in flood-hit areas in the next 6-8 weeks, and preparing for an increase in cases of that illness.

Initial assessments show that the most pressing needs are for water and sanitation as many water sources are blocked by debris. Other immediate needs are for blankets, clothing, and basic medical supplies. The restoration of water supply facilities and clearance of roads are crucial to preventing water-borne diseases and facilitating the delivery of relief supplies.

Various agencies of the Philippines Government are delivering and distributing relief goods and supplies. The NDCC facilitated the release of more than 12,000 sacks of rice for the local disaster coordinating councils. The Department of Health (DOH) and NGOs are providing medical and health services. Regional and Provincial Engineering Offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Engineering Brigades of the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) are conducting clearing operations and immediate repairs of major roads and bridges. To date the Government has provided approximately PHP 35 million (approximately USD 650,000) worth of assistance to the affected population

The Philippines government estimates that the successions of storms have cost more than PHP 3.25 billion (US$ 57 million) in damage affecting some 650,000 people. The Philippines Government through NDCC and its affiliated partners, as well as PNRC, Armed Forces, NGOs and Private Sector Organizations is delivering and distributing relief goods and supplies.

For further information, Brian Grogan, OCHA-NY (212 963-1143), and Ms. Madeleine Moulin-Acevedo, OCHA-Geneva.(41 22 917 3160).


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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