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Philippines: UN grant enables agencies to give help to storm survivors

Article / Review by on December 28, 2011 – 9:39 pmNo Comments

Philippines: UN grant enables agencies to give help to storm survivors

A group of children displaced by floods, following the passage of tropical storm Washi, living in an evacuation centre in Iligan City, PhilippinesA group of children displaced by floods, following the passage of tropical storm Washi, living in an evacuation centre in Iligan City, Philippines

A $3 million allocation from the United Nations relief fund has enabled agencies to provide initial assistance to survivors of the tropical storm that devastated parts of the Philippines 11 days ago, as the death toll rose to nearly 1,250, the UN humanitarian office reported today.

“These were the first funds that got on the ground,” said Kirsten Mildren, spokesperson for the Asia and Pacific regional office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), referring to the grant from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

“The storm actually hit just a few days before Christmas… a week when donors are away, their offices are closed and so there hasn’t been an amazing outpouring of support that you normally see after an emergency of this nature and so the CERF funds were instrumental in making some of these life-saving activities really start,” Ms. Mildren told UN Radio.

We are using the funds to provide emergency food to 81,000 displaced people over the next three months. 

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) received $1 million each from CERF, enabling them to provide emergency water and sanitation services in evacuation centres, and deliver food and logistics support, according to OCHA, which manages the fund.

“We are using the funds to provide emergency food to 81,000 displaced people over the next three months,” said Asaka Nyangara, the WFP Deputy Country Director for the Philippines. “Already we have started distributing high-energy biscuits to evacuees in the centres,” he added.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) also received $1 million from CERF, enabling it to rapidly build up its capacity to provide emergency shelter materials for the displaced and to start repairing evacuation centres.

Tropical storm Washi, also known locally as Sendong, sent torrents of water, mud and logs cascading through villages and two major cities on the island of Mindanao on 17 December, destroying nearly 13,000 homes and displacing more some 400,000 people.

OCHA reported today that the death toll currently stands at 1,249, with numerous others still missing.

The acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Philippines, Soe Nyunt-U, said that without the CERF allocation, urgent UN interventions would have been delayed.

The grant from CERF was its third allocation for relief operations in the Philippines this year and brings to $11.5 million the total amount received.

UN agencies and their humanitarian partners are seeking an additional $28.6 million to what was already requested earlier this month to respond to the needs of people affected by Washi.


About the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort.

OCHA’s mission is to:

  • Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
  • Advocate the rights of people in need.
  • Promote preparedness and prevention.
  • Facilitate sustainable solutions.

How we deliver   

OCHA’s Strategic Framework ensures that OCHA delivers on its core mandate, while responding to contemporary global challenges. The three pillars of the Strategic Framework are:

1. Partnerships: broadening the coalition for multilateral humanitarian action
The scale and scope of global challenges requires working together in new ways, with new partners. Partnership has always been integral to OCHA’s efforts. Sustained relations, built on trust and mutual respect, are vital when preparing for and responding to humanitarian emergencies. OCHA has a unique position within the international humanitarian system to convene and influence agendas. We will do this more strategically, with the aim of creating a more enabling environment for humanitarian action.

2. Service provider: building a better system
The expectations of OCHA have evolved since humanitarian reform. We will ensure that our services and support to partners also evolve and meet clients’ needs. We are focused on helping partners more predictably through humanitarian coordination leadership, strengthening coordination mechanisms, and improving the evidence base for humanitarian decision-making, planning and resource allocation.

3. Reliability and professionalism: creating better staffing and surge solutions to be there when it counts     
In 2010, OCHA will introduce surge solutions to ensure the right people are on the ground immediately after a new disaster. This will be coordinated with longer-term staffing to ensure continuity of OCHA presence.

OCHA people

OCHA is its people. From 35 offices around the world, some 1,900 specialized and dedicated OCHA staff work to ensure that effective assistance reaches millions of humanitarian beneficiaries in four continents. - United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)



UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:


> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.


* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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