‘Pablo’ victims still need help–UN
MANILA, Philippines—A United Nations humanitarian agency has called for urgent help from the international community for the Mindanao provinces devastated by Typhoon “Pablo” and decades of conflict, saying the region still needed some $47 million (around P2 billion) for shelter and livelihood requirements this year.
Top officials of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Unocha) also said it was downsizing its presence on the ground in the typhoon-devastated parts of Mindanao as operations had shifted from immediate relief to long-term rehabilitation.
David Carden, the head of Unocha Philippines, said the $47 million, part of the $91 million call for aid that the agency made under its revised humanitarian action plan for central and western Mindanao, had remained unfilled as of this month.
“This revised plan will help us to meet the ongoing needs of those affected by Pablo, particularly in the areas of shelter, because people need shelter and livelihood,” Carden told a press conference on Thursday.
“The requirements are still there in the areas of shelter, education, sociopsychological rehabilitation. A lot of people who lost relatives, friends, they are recovering now and I’d say we don’t have much time… We have to move rather quickly,” said Rashid Khalikov, the Geneva-based Unocha director who headed a high-level team of aid officials and international donors who visited Maguindanao this week.
Carden said the revised call for aid aimed to “meet the humanitarian and protection needs of 530,000 affected people” in the region, including Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental which were severely hit by Pablo in December 2012.
The amount will cover some 105 projects in the disaster and conflict areas, particularly in the areas of shelter and income generation for those who survived the calamity.
The delegation from Unocha, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Philippine government on Thursday wrapped up a four-day mission that assessed the remaining humanitarian needs in central and western Mindanao, particularly in Compostela Valley and parts of Maguindanao.