THE UNITED Nations (UN) official responsible for humanitarian affairs appealed to the international community to continue helping those affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).
Valerie Amos, UN undersecretary-general and emergency relief coordinator, said she visited Tacloban City on Wednesday, one of the worst affected areas, and personally witnessed how homeless survivors were desperately waiting for relief supplies to reach them.
“I saw a city completely devastated from storm surge waves that came in like a tsunami,” she said. “Tens of thousands of people are living in the open or sheltering in the remains of their homes and badly damaged public buildings, exposed to rain and wind. Many have lost loved ones and are traumatized by their experience. Our focus is now on scaling up our efforts.”
The UN humanitarian chief noted that the delivery of aid and distribution of relief supplies had been hampered by a series of logistical challenges, including the weather.
“While most airports have now reopened, electricity and power are still to be restored in some areas. Many roads are covered in debris and there are fuel shortages. However, as each hour and day passes, more aid is reaching people affected,” Amos said.
Amos said aircraft with life-saving supplies, including 2,500 metric tons of WFP high-energy biscuits also arrived in Tacloban City on Wednesday.
“Today and in the next few days things will get even better as our capacity increases. We know that much more is required,” she said.
In her meetings with President Benigno Aquino 3rd and other government officials who are leading relief efforts, the UN humanitarian chief reassured them of the humanitarian community’s continued commitment to support.
Amos also thanked the international community who have extended their full humanitarian support to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
“I want to thank the many countries who have offered financial assistance, in-kind support and air assets. For example, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, the United Kingdom and countries in this region:
Singapore, [the Republic of]Korea, Malaysia. But there are many more and I don’t have enough time to mention them all,” she said.
“We constantly hear about the resilience of the Filipino people,” Amos said.
“Yesterday [Wednesday], I saw it personally. People with absolutely nothing are doing their best to regain some degree of normality. We must do all we can to ensure they receive the help they desperately need.”