Rescue teams fear worsening consequences of Super Typhoon Rai | Indiafleurit

New York: Super Typhoon Rai that ravaged the Philippines over Christmas created a massive emergency with huge and ongoing needs, UN humanitarians said on Friday.

Communities are still reeling from the effects of the typhoon, which made landfall in as many as nine locations across an area the size of Austria, killing some 500 people.

Rescue teams compared Rai to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 6,000 people and left four million homeless.

“He has just devastated a huge area, razing houses to the ground,” said Brenda Barton, country director for the World Food Program (WFP).

She said she had seen “no intact building, no house without a roof, all the houses without a roof.” It was heartbreaking because it was Christmas Eve when the whole community comes together and celebrates Christmas and goes to Christmas mass.

$ 107 million emergency appeal

To support the relief effort, the UN has appealed for $ 107 million. WFP has requested $ 25 million of this amount for food, logistics and telecommunications assistance.

To date, the agency has only received $ 4.7 million, three weeks after the onset of the crisis, and it is increasingly concerned about the worsening situation of already vulnerable communities.

“We have had continuous rains, we have had communities that cannot enter homes that live in evacuation centers and COVID, just like in other parts of the world, is just starting to spread in the Philippines with its very dense population, ”Ms. Barton said, speaking to reporters in Geneva via Zoom.

The latest estimates show that 11 of the 17 regions of the Philippines were affected by the Rai Pass, known locally as the Odette.

It is the most violent typhoon to hit the Philippine archipelago in 2021 and disrupt the lives of more than seven million people, according to government data.

Livelihoods affected

In addition to destroying homes, the super typhoon devastated lives and devastated farming and fishing communities which are a major source of income and livelihoods, WFP said.

It has caused massive power and telecommunications outages that continue to affect many regions.

“The advance preparations and the government’s rapid response have been commendable,” said WFP’s Ms. Barton. “Mortality rates have been relatively low and emergency aid is being deployed in the communities. But the road to recovery is long and more support will be needed. “


Humanitarians are particularly concerned that the disaster will have a further impact on food security and already dire malnutrition rates in the Philippines.

In some affected areas such as the Caraga region, “53 percent of families could not afford a nutritious diet,” WFP noted.

Growth retardation in children is 36% regionally, which is above the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold, meaning that it is of “very high” importance for the child. public health.

“The stunting indicates that children are already suffering from long-term deprivation,” WFP said in a statement. “Their nutritional status puts them at increased risk of disease and even death. “

First aid

When the super typhoon struck, WFP immediately supported the authorities by deploying more than 100 trucks to the Department of Social Protection and Development, to help deliver family food parcels, hygiene kits and other household items. non-food relief.

WFP and the Central Department of Information, Communication and Technology have also – for the first time – deployed Innovative Emergency Mobile Telecommunications (MOVE) sets, which allow emergency responders to communicate and coordinate quickly in the aftermath of an emergency.

Fears of gender-based violence According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the sexual and reproductive health agency, women and girls have become even more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, human trafficking and gender-based violence since the typhoon hit.

There have been unconfirmed reports of rape, domestic violence and sex for food, which, according to WFP, “reflects the desperate situation triggered by the shortage of food and clean water, and the disruption of food and drinkable water. community support systems and protection mechanisms “caused by the typhoon. .

“We see all of these challenges right now and we know they are linked. This is why we are placing women’s health, rights and choices at the center of our humanitarian response to the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Odette, ”said Dr Leila Joudane, UNFPA representative in the Philippines.

As part of its continued response, WFP will initially provide food to supplement family food packages already distributed by the Philippine authorities, ensuring that communities can meet their basic food needs while the prices of basic commodities. remain unstable.

This will be complemented by cash assistance, to help people recover while boosting the economy in places where markets are already functioning.

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