Humanitarian community continues to scale up relief for Philippine typhoon victims: UN agency

Humanitarian community continues to scale up relief for Philippine typhoon victims: UN agency

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said the humanitarian community continued to scale up support for people affected by Typhoon Haiyan, a month after it made landfall in the Philippines, a UN spokesman said Monday.

"The Office says that humanitarian needs remain enormous, with nearly 15 million people affected, including some 4 million people displaced and more than 1 million homes destroyed or damaged," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said at a daily news briefing.

"The UN and its partners are focusing their efforts on reaching the most vulnerable with emergency food, shelter, health and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance and protection services," he said.

On Friday, Luiza Carvalho, the top UN humanitarian official in the Asian island country, urged the international community to continue support so that people have access to food and clean water, as well as shelter and jobs.

"Visiting Tacloban today, I see big differences from my first visit, almost one month ago," Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines Luiza Carvalho said. "The airport is operational, fuel is available, the water system is reconnected, people are receiving assistance and the town hall is functioning."

Also on Friday, UN humanitarian agencies and partners urged the world to continue to support the massive relief effort under way in the archipelago, warning that the breadth of the damage is still unfolding and the needs for the millions of people affected by the storm are immense.

Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded, struck the Philippine archipelago on Nov. 8, claiming at least 4,000 lives. Of the 348 million U.S. dollars requested for immediate aid, some 168 million U.S. dollars have been received, or roughly more than 48 percent, OCHA said.

Challenges over the coming months will involve reopening the damaged schools and public buildings and restoring services, the UN agency said.