The United Nation Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) today allocated $3 million to enable UN agencies to provide initial assistance to survivors of the tropical storm “Sendong” that devastated parts of the Philippines.
Hundreds of thousands of residents of the island of Mindanao are in need of humanitarian assistance. Reports said the death toll now rose to nearly 1,250 and hundreds are still missing.
“These were the first funds that got on the ground. The storm actually hit just a few days before Christmas… a week when donors are away, their offices are closed and so there hasn’t been an amazing outpouring of support that you normally see after an emergency of this nature and so the CERF funds were instrumental in making some of these life-saving activities really start.” – Kirsten Mildren, spokesperson for the Asia and Pacific regional office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) received $1 million each from CERF. The fund will enable the UN agencies to provide emergency water and sanitation services in evacuation centres, and deliver food and logistics support, according to OCHA, which manages the fund.
The World Food Programme will use the funds to provide emergency food to 81,000 displaced people over the next three months.
WFP’s initial assistance includes the rapid delivery of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed more than 7,800 people in evacuation centres in the stricken cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Additional high-energy biscuits for 65,000 people are currently being mobilized, according to an update issued by the agency.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) also received $1 million from CERF, enabling it to rapidly build up its capacity to provide emergency shelter materials for the displaced and to start repairing evacuation centres.
The storm swept across the Mindanao region between Friday and Sunday bringing gusty winds and heavy rains that spawned massive flash floods and landslides. “Sendong” has destroyed nearly 13,000 homes and displaced more some 400,000 people.
UN agencies and their humanitarian partners are seeking an additional $28.6 million to what was already requested earlier this month to respond to the needs of people affected by Washi.