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UN Assists After Storms Pound Philippines, Vietnam


New York, Nov 4 2009 3:10PM

United Nations aid agencies are at work in the Philippines and Viet Nam after yet another typhoon pummelled the region, bringing heavy rains, causing power outages and communication problems and raising the threat of renewed floods.


Typhoon Mirinae, also known as Santi, generated winds of around 185 kilometres per hour as it crossed the northern Philippines on Saturday before making landfall in Viet Nam early on Monday.


At least 87 people are thought to have been killed in Viet Nam, the UN Country Team reported, while the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said more than 115,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes in the Philippines.


Widespread damage has also been reported to rice paddies and other farmland and also to homes and basic infrastructure.


Mirinae is the fourth major tropical storm or typhoon to strike the region in less than five weeks, and the Philippines has been the worst affected country.


Last month the UN and its aid partners issued a flash appeal for $74 million to help typhoon victims, but the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (http://ochaonline.un.org/) said that so far only $25 million has been provided.


WFP reported it was revising its estimates of aid needed in the wake of Mirinae, and it is now asking for an extra 44,000 tons of food to assist typhoon survivors through March next year. The agency expects to help about 1.5 million Filipinos recover from the storms, including thousands of farmers who lost their entire rice harvests.


WFP said it was particularly concerned about the impact on young children, and is making preparations to start a supplementary feeding programme with the assistance of national nutrition authorities.


The agency’s country director Stephen Anderson said Mirinae “has hit vulnerable people already struggling to cope after the previous storms and flooding. It has made our food assistance even more important to them.”


An assessment mission comprising representatives of WFP, the UN Children’s Fund (http://www.unicef.org/), the UN World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/), government departments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has inspected Santa Cruz municipality, one of the hardest hit areas.


Emergency food supplies have already been distributed in Santa Cruz following Mirinae and logistical supplies are also being provided.


In Viet Nam, the UN Country Team is working with Government officials to help monitor the humanitarian situation and assist where needed.


The damage has been worst in the centre of the country, with Binh Dinh province among the hardest hit and Quang Nam, Ninh Thuan and Gia Lai provinces all at risk from floods and landslides.


ENDS

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