Source: United Nations MIL OSI
The United Nations and humanitarian partners in the Philippines launched, on Monday, a response plan for $45.5 million to bring life-saving assistance and protection to hundreds of thousands of people affected by Typhoon Goni.
Response efforts have been underway since the Typhoon, known locally as Rolly, struck the archipelagic nation on 1 November, leaving widespread devastation in its wake.
Fully funded, the six-month response will support some 260,000 disaster-affected people, many of whom were already living in poverty prior to the disaster.
Launching the appeal, Gustavo Gonzalez, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, said that with support from donors, the humanitarian community is ready to translate “solidarity into concrete support” through a coordinated response, combining emergency relief and early recovery.
“The UN and humanitarian partners in the Philippines are mobilizing all our resources to ensure that we leave no one behind at this time of great need,” he added.
On Sunday, Mr. Gonzalez led an inter-agency team to Albay province, one of the hardest hit regions, to assess the damage. During his visit, he spoke with local officials, frontline responders, and affected people.
“Seeing the devastating effects of the Typhoon, we express our deep concern for the thousands of families affected by this disaster,” said Mr. Gonzalez.
In addition to Albay, significant damage is also reported in Catanduanes, Camarines Sur and Quezon provinces. In all, 32 of the Philippines’ 81 provinces are affected.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 137,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed, and total infrastructure damage estimated at $234 million. In addition, 67 health facilities and more than 1,000 schools, including the ones housing evacuees, have been damaged.
Typhoon Goni hit the Philippines as it was reeling under the effects of successive storms. In October alone, the country was struck by four major weather events, including Typhoon Molave (local name Quinta).
The impact of the natural disasters has been further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a heavy toll on the economy on top of the public health consequences. Typhoon Goni also took out the government’s main COVID-19 laboratory in Bicol, resulting in suspension of testing.
Amidst the complex challenges, children, women and girls (including pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls), women- and child-headed households, persons with disabilities, older persons, LGBTIQ persons, and indigenous peoples, are at greater risk of discrimination and exposure to sexual and gender-based violence, and their protection will be integrated across all response efforts, according to the response plan.
UN and partners have also improvised ways to safeguard safety, quality and timeliness of humanitarian response given the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, where the necessary conditions are met, affected families will be provided with cash or voucher assistance to buy food or materials to repair their homes, to minimize exposure to coronavirus.
Similarly, provisions will be made for modular tents to implement physical distancing under COVID-19 guidelines for safer living conditions in displacement sites.