• UN remembers Typhoon Pablo

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    A Philippine-based United Nations official called for “continued support” for the victims of Typhoon Pablo, which left massive destruction and more than a thousand dead bodies in southern Mindanao last year.

    “As we continue to respond to the immense humanitarian needs of people affected by Typhoon Yolanda [known internationally as Haiyan], we remember the many whose lives were torn apart when Pablo tore through southern Mindanao one year ago and the partnerships we formed,” Luiza Carvalho, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, said in a statement.

    When Pablo made landfall on December 4 last year, it was in category 5 super typhoon with winds of 175 mph or 280 km/h. It was the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit southern Philippines, records showed.

    The typhoon, with international name Bopha, flattened coastal and inland communities and left over one million people without homes.

    Heavy rains and flooding affected more than 6.2 million people, and claimed over a thousand lives while displacing at least 800,000 people.

    According to Carvalho, the Philippine government “mobilized quickly and responded to the needs” of the victims in the aftermath of the typhoon. She added that the government has received a huge amount of support from the international community, which has also been extending its generosity now that the country is reeling again from another super typhoon–Yolanda.

    Hundreds of thousands of people in southern Mindanao received emergency medical, food and shelter assistance, as well as basic water, sanitation and hygiene services.

    To help tens of thousands of people get back on their feet again, the government and their partner agencies also came up with agricultural, livelihood and early recovery projects, the UN official noted.

    “In less than the space of a year, we have been struck again by the forces of nature, this time in the form of Typhoon Yolanda. While we face even greater challenges today, our commitment to the people of Mindanao is steadfast as we continue to support the Government in rebuilding livelihoods,” Carvalho said.

    The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has again come together to respone to a “large scale” disaster in the Philippines.

    “Given the geographical span of the area affected, we faced logistical challenges but in a short space of time major national and international relief and early recovery support rapidly expanded.”

    Five days after Typhoon Yolanda devastated eastern Visayas, the HCT managed to issue an emergency appeal to meet the immediate needs in the areas affected.

    In the coming days, Carvalho said the humanitarian community will also launch a “strategic response plan” to cover remaining humanitarian needs and initiate early recovery activities.

    The plan will be designed to complement the government’s Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan.
    BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON

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