February 4, 2022, MANILA —The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) held a virtual briefing on February 2 to update Member States and partners on the humanitarian needs in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Rai (local name Odette) where the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF ) represented the Filipino private sector for the very first time.
The briefing was chaired by Mr. Ramesh Rajasingham, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator of OCHA. Other speakers included His Excellency Mr. Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Sarah Charles, Assistant to the Administrator, USAID Humanitarian Office, Mr. Gustavo González, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, and Ms. Regina “Nanette” S. Antequisa, Executive Director of ECOWEB.
PDRF Executive Director Veronica Gabaldon highlighted PH’s private sector contributions to the disaster response for Typhoon Rai, including the restoration of essential lifelines such as electricity, water and telecommunications. It has also strengthened the role of private companies in increasing government resources and coordinating with national and international humanitarian actors.
“Despite being among the hardest hit, the private sector has continued to do its part in responding to the pandemic and severe weather disruptions, but there is still much work to be done,” Gabaldon said. “We may have started the process, but the rebuilding is long and arduous, requiring more and more resources before healing can truly take place.”
“We commend each of our partners in disaster preparedness as they immediately sprang into action to support the government’s efforts to reach those hardest hit by the typhoon,” said Sarah Charles, assistant to the Administrator of USAID’s Office of Humanitarian Assistance.
Typhoon Odette entered the Philippines’ area of responsibility last December 14 and made landfall in nine lands in Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negro Oriental and Palawan before exiting into the Western Sea. from the Philippines.
According to OCHA’s Revised Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) (which was launched on the same day as the briefing), 16 million people have been severely affected and 2.4 million are still in need of assistance. A total of 1.7 million homes have been damaged or destroyed, and damages and losses to the agricultural sector are estimated at over $330 million.
More than a month after the storm, 144,000 people are still displaced, nearly half of them in evacuation centers. And while power has been restored to some areas, 80 municipalities continue to experience power outages or disruptions.
“A crisis within a crisis, Typhoon Rai hit just as the Philippines was experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, slowing the response and straining the already disrupted medical system,” the UN Resident Coordinator said. , Gustavo Gonzalez, in his statement. “This follows two years of a pandemic that has increased vulnerability and now threatens to erode many hard-won development gains across the country. Prompt and generous donor support is essential to protect these important development gains. against recoil.”
The PNH recommends that critical emergency responses prioritize shelter; food security and agriculture; and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
The recording of the OCHA briefing can be viewed here: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1w/k1w27801i7
For more information on how to support communities affected by Typhoon Odette, visit: www.pdrf.org/how-you-can-help/
About the PHILIPPINE FOUNDATION FOR DISASTER RESILIENCE
The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) is the country’s leading private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster resilience. As a business alliance dedicated to building the disaster risk management capacity of the private sector in the country, PDRF aims to contribute to the sustainable development and general well-being of the Filipino people. For more information, visit www.pdfrf.org.
Camille Rae Lim
Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation