The UN is delivering humanitarian aid to the Philippines after Typhoon Ray left “total devastation”.
The UN humanitarian coordinator in the archipelago, Gustavo González, said on Monday that the assessment teams managed to reach the communities most affected by the storm this weekend, which hit with sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour, and gusts of up to 270 kilometers pper hour, in various regions.
Around 1.8 million people have reportedly been affected by the disaster and at least 208 people have been confirmed dead since Ray made landfall last Thursday.
Landslides and floods
This number is feared to rise once authorities can confirm how many victims have perished in the landslides and extensive floods that have been recorded.
“On behalf of the UN and the country’s humanitarian team, nur message to the people of the Philippines is one of solidarity and support“said the head of UN aid in the Philippines.” We are coordinating with government authorities to ensure that we provide timely support and that we are fully mobilized to address critical deficiencies and the needs of the most vulnerable.
“We also commend the professionalism of the front-line personnel led by government authorities, the armed forces, the Red Cross and others involved in evacuation, search and rescue efforts in very difficult circumstances and in logistics,” he added.
According to reports, some 300,000 people were evacuated when the super typhoon hit the central regions. Some of the affected areas are still isolated. Around 227 municipalities suffered power cuts and, so far, only 9% have been restored, that is, in 21 municipalities. Due to the severity of the typhoon, it is estimated that some cities may be without access to electricity for up to three months.
Another problem is that there are still 40 municipalities without telecommunications of the 135 that suffered outages, making it difficult to analyze the level of damage.
In addition, in many cities there are problems accessing cash, as the banking system does not work; 22 roads have been affected, making it difficult for humanitarian aid to access.
Priority needs include food packages for families and non-food items, access to clean water and hygiene kits, emergency shelters, fuel, medical supplies, as well as restoring access to all affected areas, as well as protection services. Harmed people expressed a preference for cash assistance to access local markets.
The memory of Haiyan lives on
In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck many of the central provinces that were devastated last week, claiming more than 6,300 lives.
Each year, the Philippines suffers an average of 25 typhoons, in addition to earthquakes, tidal floods and alerts for 21 active volcanoes, the result of its position in the Pacific Ring of Fire, named for the horseshoe-shaped tectonic arc that borders the Pacific basin.