P5.35-B needed to help Odette-hit Pinoys bounce back: UN

P5.35-B needed to help Odette-hit Pinoys bounce back: UN

MANILA – At least US$107.2 million or approximately PHP5.35 billion is needed to help about 530,000 Filipinos in the worst typhoon-hit areas in Caraga and Eastern Visayas for the next six months, the United Nations Philippines said Friday.

The number, drawn from the UN’s newly launched Humanitarian Needs and Priorities Plan, is based on preliminary assessment findings and early estimates of people in need in the aftermath of the catastrophic Typhoon Odette.

The United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said the USD107.2 million funding requested would prioritize life-saving and protection programs, focusing on displaced persons, host communities, and indigenous people, among others.

“Combining poverty indicators and severe wind strength exposure, the document targets at least 530,000 people in the worst affected areas in CARAGA and Region VIII, as well as in other hard-hit regions. In four to six weeks from the launch, the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities plan will be revised to reflect the needs arising from additional assessments,” the UN OCHA said Friday.

More than three million people were affected by the typhoon that battered several provinces across Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao last week.

At least 312 were killed and 659 injured while 629,434 people were displaced, with 352,384 of them taking shelter in evacuation centers, based on the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

In a separate statement, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said at least US$11 million or around PHP550 million pesos is also needed to reach 200,000 children with essential interventions required to save lives, protect and ensure their rights.

“Our hearts go out to typhoon-affected children and families who are spending a bleak holiday season. As we gather with our families for Noche Buena tonight, let us not forget those who are struggling to get even the most basic of necessities such as food, water, and shelter,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said.

“UNICEF staff are working on the ground with government and other partners to reach the most vulnerable. We’re appealing to the international community to continue to play a part in restoring children’s lives,” she added.

The pandemic has exacerbated pressing child rights issues and additional emergencies further compromise the welfare and overall well-being of children and young people, according to the UN agency.

UNICEF underscored the pressing need to address concerns on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in the affected areas amid cases of diarrhea due to lack of access to water and sanitation.

Several foreign donors, meanwhile, have pledged to provide humanitarian aid to boost the country relief efforts, including South Korea, Ireland, the United States, China, Canada, Australia, Hungary, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Finland, and the European Union.

Australia earmarked AUD5 million (approximately PHP180 million) in humanitarian relief, which will be coursed through the Philippine Red Cross, UN agencies, and other non-government-organizations.

“I would like to convey Australia’s condolences and heartfelt thoughts to those families in the Philippines who have lost loved ones or whose lives have been affected by this disaster,” Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Thursday.

“With 2021 being our 75th year of diplomatic relations, Australia and the Philippines share a long history of mateship and Bayanihan. Australia remains steadfast in our commitment to support the Philippines during this difficult time,” she added.

Taiwan, on the other hand, sent a US$500,000 (approximately PHP25 million) donation to the Philippine government, which was turned over to the Manila Economic and Cultural Office on December 22. This is on top of the PHP4.7 million donation provided by the Taiwan Association Inc. and the Love From Koten Foundation.

TECO Representative Peiyung Hsu said Taiwan is in solidarity with the Philippines during these trying times and extended Taiwan’s condolences to the bereaved families of those killed during the onslaught.

Switzerland also contributed CHF600,000 or at least PHP32.6 million to support the Philippine Red Cross’ relief efforts, expressing readiness “for further possible support”.

Based on the EU’s latest fact sheet, more European states will contribute to the country’s Typhoon Odette response, including Finland with EUR100,000 (approximately PHP5.6 million), The Netherlands with EUR225,000 (PHP12.75 million), and Spain with EUR500,000 (PHP28.3 million).

EU said Germany is also redirecting parts of its EUR1.2 million (PHP70.4 million) contribution in the International Organization for Migration’s Covid-19 recovery fund to cover the needs of the typhoon-affected communities in Visayas and Mindanao.

Aside from humanitarian assistance, the EU has also activated its Copernicus Emergency Management Services for Rapid Mapping, giving the Philippines access to satellite maps of the typhoon-battered provinces free of charge. The maps can show a delineation of the damage or an assessment of the destruction. (PNA)


By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora December 24, 2021, 5:28 pm