United Nations (UN) Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday to see for herself the massive destruction left in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. She participated in the launch of the humanitarian response plan, which seeks $301 million to cover immediate life-saving humanitarian needs for the millions of people who have been left devastated by the disaster.
“Millions of families have had their lives torn apart by Typhoon Haiyan. They have lost everything and desperately need help now,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator and United Nations Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Amos. “I am concerned that there are thousands of people who need help that we have not been able to reach. The scale of the destruction is shocking. We must make every effort to reach people.”
More than 11 million people are estimated to be affected mostly in Eastern and Western Visayas region with many homes destroyed and over 670,000 people are known to be displaced. Thousands of people are estimated to have been killed in one city alone, according to local government officials.
The Philippines government is leading the massive relief operation, and the United Nations and NGO partners are on the ground, working hard to support their efforts. It is still too early to tell the full scale of the destruction, but it is clear that the needs are huge and that much more is required to be done. A massive aid operation is required to help the government respond to this crisis.
“I commend the Philippines government for their relief efforts so far, under extremely challenging circumstances, and hope the international community will give generously to the humanitarian response. The UN and its partners remain committed to supporting the government and the Filipino people in any way required—now and in the longer-term when communities will need to be rebuilt,” said Amos.
Amos plans to travel to Tacloban, one of the areas worst affected by the typhoon, to see for herself the scale of the destruction and meet with people affected and emergency workers on the ground. During her visit, she will also meet President Benigno Aquino 3rd, government officials and representatives of the humanitarian community in the country.