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Flash appeal for $74 million amid food shortage concerns

Books and other school supplies are salvaged from the mud at this elementary school in Manila
Books and other school supplies are salvaged from the mud at this elementary school in Manila (Jason Gutierrez/IRIN)

The UN launched a flash appeal on 7 October for over US$74 million for the Philippines after deadly storms brought extensive flooding and dealt a blow to the country's agricultural sector.



"Clearly the damage is serious, and we feel the humanitarian needs are great and will be for the next few months," Jacqueline Badcock, the UN Resident Coordinator for the Philippines told IRIN from Manila, where the appeal was launched.



The Philippine government has estimated the cost of the damages wrought by the storms as 9.77 billion pesos ($209.4 million).



Tropical storm Ketsana hit Manila and central Luzon on 26 September, inundating about 80 percent of the capital and killing at least 295 people. Over four million people were affected, including 340,000 displaced, according to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in its 6 October report.



A week later, typhoon Parma hit the country's north, killing at least 16 people and displacing over 85,800. It also devastated the agriculture sector in northern Isabela Province, raising food security concerns, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).



Badcock said between 25 and 33 percent of the $74,021,809 asked for had been pledged. Donors include Canada, Australia, the US, China, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Spain, the European Union and others.



The appeal will cover priority projects for food, drinking water, sanitation, shelter and household items, and will be revised after a month, when more detailed assessments give a clearer picture of humanitarian needs.


''Thousands of people have lost everything. They may still have a roof
over their heads, but the water ruined all their furniture, clothes,
food and items for their kids
''

"There are still many communities that are unreachable and we can only guesstimate" at the damage, said Badcock. "Some of the longer-term needs have only become apparent as the flood waters have gone down," she said, citing damage to schools and hospitals.



The appeal was developed with the NDCC and includes UN agencies, NGOs, the Philippines National Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).



It will last for six months until March 2010 and is intended to address the immediate needs of a million people affected by the storms and flooding.



Badcock said the most urgent needs were clean water and sanitation, a pressing issue in evacuation centres, as well as the supply of food and non-food items.



"Thousands of people have lost everything. They may still have a roof over their heads, but the water ruined all their furniture, clothes, food and items for their kids," she said, highlighting the needs of children.



The appeal also aims to restore schools that are being used as evacuation centres, and to provide education and protection for displaced and affected children.



Before the launch, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, announced that $7 million would be allocated from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for immediate live-saving assistance.



"Flood-related disasters can lead to even worse humanitarian consequences, not least the risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases, if the response is delayed," he said, urging donors to be generous for the flash appeal.



The $7 million allocation will fund initial relief efforts by the World Food Programme, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization and the IOM.



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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