Humanitarian fund needed for ‘Pablo’ victims raised to $76M

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/25 January)—Describing typhoon “Pablo” (international name Bopha) as the most deadly storm globally in 2012 and the most powerful to hit Southern Mindanao in 100 years, a United Nations official in the country on Friday appealed for a higher amount of $76 million (P3 billion) to help survivors.

Luiza Carvalho, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines, issued the appeal in Manila during the launching of the “Revised Typhoon Bopha/Pablo Response—An Action Plan for Recovery.”

The revised appeal represents a 17 percent increase from the $65 million requested on December 10 at the onset of the disaster.The typhoon devastated the Mindanao provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

“In the weeks since Pablo hit Southern Mindanao, the breadth and extent of damage has become clearer. More than one month on, at least 6.2 million people have been affected and close to 850,000 remain displaced,” she said in a speech that was emailed to MindaNews.

“[At least] 210,000 houses, vital public infrastructure and vast tracts of agricultural land have been severely damaged or destroyed,” she added.

The typhoon killed at least 1,060 people with 800 still missing, Carvalho said.

Of the revised appeal of $76 million, Carvalho said that 36 percent has been received so far, with the third provided by UN agencies and the rest by non government organizations.

The UN Central Emergency Response has allocated $10 million to provide immediate life-saving assistance, she said.

Pledges and contributions from donors, including the United States, Australia, Japan, the European Union, Canada and others have provided an additional 17 million, Carvalho added.

 To date, she noted that $48 million is needed to meet the $76 million revised appeal.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, who graced the affair, was quoted as saying in another press statement sent by the organizers that “the funding and resources we have at present are not commensurate with the needs that we must meet.”

According to the statement, the revised response plan outlines how the humanitarian community, in support of Government response efforts, will continue to provide life-saving assistance and recovery support to at least 920,000 people in Mindanao, over the coming six months.

Major humanitarian needs include shelter, early recovery and livelihoods, food security and agriculture, and water, sanitation and hygiene, it added. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)