UN body opens ‘Glenda’ task force
MANILA, Philippines—The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Philippines had put up a “Glenda” Task Force as the international aid community went on standby while monitoring the strongest howler to hit the country in eight months.
“A task force from the humanitarian community was set up to agree on additional measures to enhance our readiness to respond and remains on standby,” Luiza Carvalho, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in the country, said in a statement.
The UN OCHA observed that Glenda “is the first typhoon to strike the Philippines” since supertyphoon Haiyan, locally known as “Yolanda,” ravaged the Visayas in November 2013.
“We are in close communication with respective government counterparts as well as the humanitarian country team and field offices for constant updates on the latest situation,” Carvalho said.
She said that a technical staff from the team took part in the working group of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in assessing the needs for rapid damage assessment and needs analysis in Glenda-affected areas.
Meanwhile, Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretary General Le Luong Minh expressed “commitment to support the recovery efforts in the Philippines (for Yolanda-affected communities) as an integral part of building a caring and sharing Asean Community.”
The Asean Community is one of the pillars of a region that is integrated economically and socially, which Asean wants to build by next year.
Also, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, who attended last week a disaster risk reduction meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, said in a statement that external humanitarian and development assistance must at all times be coordinated with government, using country systems to avoid costly parallel structures and overlaps.
“Bypassing country systems and not coordinating with government tend to overburden local units tapped by development partners to carry out tasks,” Balisacan said. “It unduly competes with government over needed manpower and other logistical resources.”
He added that bypassing the system that the government has put in place to deal with disasters would result in inefficiency as such external resources might not be aligned with government priorities.
“This tends to defeat efforts to build domestic capacity to effectively address disasters by weakening rather than strengthening local institutional arrangements and initiatives,” said Balisacan, also the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority.
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