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PIA Press Release

UN kicks off appeal for $74-M to aid RP flood victims

Manila (7 October) -- The United Nations launched an appeal for $74 Million to help the 1 Million flood victims in the Philippines which has been lashed by two major storms, at report from the UN News Service stated.

To jumpstart the appeal, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said that he has allocated $7 million for the Philippines emergency from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), set up to finance sudden-onset or under-funded crises.

The appeal has already received between $9 million and $10 million, Mr.Holmes said. In addition to U.N. efforts, he said many governments in the region and elsewhere, including the United States, are helping in different ways.

The $74 million flash appeal, he said, is the largest ever for the Philippines, which is "no stranger to disasters and certainly to floods."

The Flash Appeal seeks to generate funds in key sectors including food, shelter, water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency telecommunications and logistics, child protection, coordination and camp management.

It was developed in partnership with the Philippines National Disaster Management Agency, and appealing organizations include UN agencies, along with the Philippines National Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and others.

After one month when there is a clearer picture of humanitarian needs, the flash appeal will be revised.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap and Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral attended the launch as representatives of the Philippine government.

As part of the $74 Million appeal, the UN World Food Programme is asking for $26 million to fund its three-month emergency operation, already under way, to support the Government's efforts by providing rice, beans and other food in the worst-hit areas of Manila and surrounding areas. The agency is also giving logistical support to allow humanitarian agencies to access remote areas.

WFP said that it is also rushing helicopters and inflatable boats to reach flood victims in remote areas with humanitarian aid.

"Many needy people live in areas that still remain inaccessible because of the widespread flooding," said Stephen Anderson, the agency's Country Director in the Philippines.

Seven boats, the first of 30 requested by the Government, arrived today in Manila, while two of three helicopters, also asked for by authorities, are set to land in the country Thursday. Without these boats and helicopters, Mr. Anderson said, "the massive Government-led relief effort would not be able to reach people who are really desperate, sometimes neck-deep in water."

For its part, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has identified access to drinking water as the major concern in the wake of the devastating storms, with some parts of the country having been flooded with stagnant water now for many days.

Moreover, some evacuation centers are filled beyond their capacity, raising concern over possible health risks, with cases of diarrhea and skin diseases already being reported.

UNICEF, which is asking for nearly $13 million from the wider appeal has already distributed hundreds of hygiene kids, and its Executive Director Ann Veneman is set to visit Manila tomorrow to assess the situation first-hand.

Appealing for $7 million during the launch was the World Health Organization (WHO), which reported that it is sending medical supplies since nearly two dozen hospitals and health centers have been damaged by flooding. (PIA 8) [top]

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