Asia Pacific Humanitarian Update

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Philippines — Media
Photo: UNICEF/Larry Piojo ©2020

Philippines: Humanitarians mobilize support as millions of people caught in the path of super typhoon.

Press Release by Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator

Manila, November 1, 2020 – The United Nations (UN) and humanitarian partners in the Philippines are mobilizing to support the national response to assist communities affected by super typhoon Goni (Rolly) as it sweeps through the country today.

The Philippines weather bureau, PAGASA, warns that catastrophically violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall will be felt in areas within a 230-kilometer diameter of the typhoon.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 19 to 31 million people could be affected in areas along the typhoon’s track, 2.4 million of whom are considered most vulnerable.

On behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez, confirmed to the Government of the Philippines the readiness of the humanitarian community to support national efforts.

“We have not waited for the landfall of this typhoon to mobilize our humanitarian teams and take action,” said Mr Gonzalez. “UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs are already working with relevant Government departments and offices, Philippine Red Cross, and with private sector groups to coordinate our efforts to support the conduct of rapid needs assessments and swiftly assist the most vulnerable people caught in the typhoon’s destructive path.”

Humanitarian agencies with staff and local partners on the ground in affected areas mobilized to commence the conduct of assessments of the humanitarian impact of the typhoon, including in the most hard-hit areas, in coordination with the Government and while observing all movement restrictions and safety protocols in place due to COVID-19. Philippine Red Cross emergency response teams are supporting the authorities in search and rescue efforts and in providing immediate relief to hard-hit communities as the disaster unfolds.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is coordinating humanitarian sectors and is mapping humanitarian and development partners in affected areas to support impact assessments. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is providing support to the authorities in the management of evacuation centers. The World Food Programme has received a request for logistical support to food distributions.

“The people of the Philippines are incredibly resilient, but this is a very dangerous typhoon and I call on everyone to follow the guidance being given by the authorities,” said Mr Gonzalez. “We must prepare for the worst and be ready to save lives, while putting trust in the effectiveness of years of close collaboration and experience in emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction efforts such as the timely evacuation of people in low lying areas. In the next hours and days we must do everything in our power to save lives and ensure that no-one is left behind.”

Country-based UN and non-governmental organizations as well as Philippine Red Cross and the private sector coordinate their humanitarian activities in the Philippines through the Humanitarian Country Team, which, under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator, acts in support of national and local authorities to alleviate human suffering and protect the lives, livelihoods and dignity of people in need.