25 October 2013 The United Nations and humanitarian partners in the Philippines appealed today for $46.8 million to meet the acute needs of the victims of the Bohol earthquake which is believed to have affected more than 3 million people.
The action plan supports Government priorities including emergency shelter for 344,000 displaced and homeless people, water, sanitation and hygiene, debris removal and coordination, as well as other life-saving interventions.
“People urgently require temporary and transitional shelter, to protect them from the elements,” the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Luiza Carvalho, said in a statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“We are concerned for the most vulnerable, especially the well-being of women and children,” she added.
The 7.2-magnitudue quake, centred within two miles of Carmen town, south of Manila, triggered landslides engulfing entire homes, ripping apart bridges and tearing down centuries-old churches. Seven cities in three different provinces were initially affected.
“The Philippines experienced successive, multiple and simultaneous disasters recently,” said Ms. Carvalho. “Humanitarian actors currently responding to several calamities are stretched to full capacity and we need support to provide an effective, needs-based intervention to complement the Government’s timely and hands-on response.”
The damage to infrastructure is acute with homes, hospitals, health units, churches and schools severely affected - many beyond repair.
While poor road conditions continue to improve, OCHA noted, there are still logistical challenges in providing relief to communities who remain inaccessible, except by motorcycle and boat.
Another critical issue is the damage to water sources, including to pipelines, pumping stations and the electricity supply, all affecting the availability of drinking water. There is also concern that a shortage of sanitation facilities will leave people exposed to a greater risk of disease.
“Providing relief to the people who most need it requires cooperation and coordination with the local and national authorities, who are leading this response,” the Humanitarian Coordinator said.
“We want to ensure that resources are maximized and efforts not duplicated, and we will operate, as we always do, with our guiding principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality.”
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