Following the devastating destruction by Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) that hit the Philippines on November 8, the United Nations, the Government of the Philippines, and other humanitarian organizations are mounting a massive coordinated humanitarian response to provide families with immediate lifesaving aid.
“UN emergency response teams arrived in Tacloban city within 12 hours of the disaster. Specialist teams from member states and humanitarian agencies are committed and mobilized, and making their way to the Philipppines. They are pooling resources, food and non-food items to assist the most vulnerable people,” said Luiza Carvalho, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines.
The latest information from the UN and the Government of the Philippines indicates that more than 9.5 million people are affected by the typhoon in nine regions across the Philippines. Nearly 620,000 of them have been displaced from their homes and communities.
On the death toll, the Philippines Red Cross is saying 1,200 but the mayor of Tacloban is saying that as many as 10,000 died in Leyte province. I left it out because those figures usually change drastically in the first few days.
As relief operations are being scaled up, including airlifting food, water, and medical supplies, access to affected communities remains a major challenge.
“It is vital that we reach those who are stranded in isolated areas as they are at risk of further threats such as malnutrition, exposure to bad weather and unsafe drinking water,” Carvalho added.
According to initial reports from the World Health Organization, health facilities in the hard-hit areas are badly damaged, health services are stretched, and medical supplies are low. Some field hospitals, medical supplies, and medical teams are expected to arrive in the upcoming days and will be working with the government to ensure the supplies and teams get to where they are needed most.
As the full impact of the storm is being assessed, children are expected to be among the most affected with some 1.7 million children believed to be living in the areas hit by the emergency, according to UNICEF.
Before the storm hit, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) partnered with the UN to deploy a team of experts to the Philippines. TSF pre-positioned three telecom centers to help with relief coordination before the influx of humanitarian aid arrived. The telecom infrastructure will also help thousands of affected people to be able to make calls to let their families know they are safe and well.
How you can help
Text2Give: Text CERF to 90999 to donate $5 to the United Nations to help families affected by the recent typhoon and other disasters.
Online donation: Donate now to help families affected by the recent typhoon and other disasters. Your donation will help the United Nations provide immediate emergency relief, such as clean water, food, health and medical supplies, and shelter to communities most in need.
UNICEF: Up to 4 million children are living in communities affected by the recent typhoon in the Philippines. Donate now to help UNICEF provide shelter, clean water, food and vaccines to children in need.
World Food Programme: The World Food Programme was already providing emergency food assistance in the Philippines following the October earthquake. With these emergency food stocks stretched thin, they’re now mobilizing additional supplies and are flying in 40 tons of fortified biscuits in the coming days. Additional food supplies are needed. You can help these efforts by donating online or by calling 1-202-747-0722 domestically or +39-06-65131 for international calls.
CNN also listed other ways to help in a recent article.