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UN Relief Chief Urges for More Aid To Post-Typhoon Philippines

Jan 20 2014 (IPS) - The scale and spread of humanitarian needs in the Philippines two months after Super Typhoon Haiyan is still “daunting,” the United Nations relief chief said Thursday, urging for more support for long-term recovery efforts.

“Donors, humanitarian agencies, and most of all, the people of the Philippines have achieved a huge amount in the past two months, but the delivery and reach of aid remains uneven,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said in a statement from the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“I am particularly concerned that just 20 per cent of funding has been secured to provide tools and materials so that people can rebuild their homes,” she said, noting that the rainy season is approaching fast in the Southeast Asian nation.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8 2013 killing nearly 6,000 people.  Around 4.1 million people were displaced during the crisis.

Amos said electricity supplies are currently unreliable in many parts of the affected areas and there are also shortages of learning spaces and materials for schools, which reopened last week.

The U.N. launched a one-year Strategic Response Plan for nearly $800 million dollars in mid-December in support of the government’s relief plan, which amounts to a total of $8.17 billion over four years. The U.N. appeal alone was only 30 per cent funded at the time, but pledges are now around 42 per cent, data from the global organisation showed.

“During the next few months, the humanitarian community will focus on ensuring a smooth transition from urgent assistance to long term recovery and rehabilitation efforts,” Amos said. “We count on the continued support of donors for this work.”

The U.N. has been calling for the international community to increase support for the Philippines over the past two months.

During his visit to Manila in December, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon once again pledged support to the nation’s recovery strategy to help millions of people rebuild their lives.

“We must not allow this to be another forgotten crisis,” he said.

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