UN extends call for help to ‘Ulysses’-hit areas in N. Luzon

UN extends call for help to ‘Ulysses’-hit areas in N. Luzon


MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Three weeks after launching its response to help address the immediate and early recovery needs of communities worst hit by Super Typhoon Rolly, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners on Friday released a revised Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) plan, further extending support to areas severely affected by Typhoon Ulysses in northern Luzon.

In its support to the government-led response to “Rolly” and “Ulysses”, country-based humanitarian partners under the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) umbrella will focus on life-saving and time-critical recovery needs of people, especially women and girls, living in the hardest-hit provinces of Albay and Catanduanes in the Bicol region and the most-affected areas of the province of Cagayan in the Cagayan Valley region.

The revised HNP brings together collective humanitarian activities from November to April next year with a new total funding request of USD52.6 million (PHP2.5 billion).

The call for resources will directly assist 278,100 affected people in terms of food, access to clean water – sanitation – hygiene (WASH) facilities, emergency shelter and livelihood, health, and early recovery.

Following a review of overall needs, 18,100 most vulnerable people who were severely affected by “Ulysses” in Cagayan were added to the original target of 260,000 people in Albay and Catanduanes.

On November 23, UN resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez joined the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) and ambassadors from Germany and the Netherlands in visiting Tuguegarao to directly coordinate with Cagayan’s provincial government to identify the needs and gaps, as well as prioritize humanitarian interventions in the flood-affected areas.

This followed a visit earlier in November to see first hand the impact of “Rolly” on communities in Albay.

“I had the opportunity to visit Tuguegarao and consult with local government officials and people directly affected by the floods. This and my earlier visit to Albay highlighted to me the extraordinary efforts made by the government at all levels to protect vulnerable communities. I was also impressed by the spirit of Filipinos as they worked within their battered communities to recover and rebuild their lives,” Gonzalez said in a news release.

As various agencies continue to support response efforts for the two typhoons and to accelerate the stabilization of conditions faced by the affected population, UN Undersecretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has approved an allocation of USD3.1 million (PHP150 million) for the Philippines from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

The CERF funding was awarded to Unicef, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the UN World Food Program (WFP), prioritizing water supplies, sanitation services, hygiene, emergency shelter, and food to address time-critical needs.

All three agencies are mandated under the CERF to focus on life-saving assistance of the most vulnerable, particularly the poorest single-headed households, elderly, and persons with disabilities in Albay and Catanduanes.

Related needs, such as mental health, nutrition, and psychosocial support, Covid-19 infection prevention and control, camp management for larger and congested evacuation centers, and logistics will be addressed through a collaborative and multi-sectoral approach. The agencies will work with local implementing partners.

Other recent contributions include donor agencies, such as ECHO and USAID, that have raised additional funding support for humanitarian response and recovery efforts, USD1.3 million (PHP60 million) and USD3.5 million (PHP169 million) respectively, which will enable local humanitarian partners to provide relief to displaced communities and people-at-risk in the most-affected areas.

A total of USD11.6 million (PHP562 million) has been successfully mobilized through the HNP to date.

Humanitarian partners in the country – the UN, non-governmental organizations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the private sector – are supporting national and local authorities with the response to the typhoons, building on established partnership agreements and relationships strengthened over years of collaboration.

“With (the) continuing influence of La Niña, this may not be the last major storm we have seen this season. The UN and humanitarian partners in the Philippines are not waiting and we are already adapting our approach to meet such challenges, including by building on partnerships for resilience,” Gonzalez added. (PR)

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