UN says Philippine typhoon destruction ‘badly underestimated’


The United Nations said destruction caused by Ty-phoon Rai in the Philippines had been “badly under-estimated” in initial assessments, tripling the num-ber of people “seriously affected” to nine million.

A UN campaign to raise $107.2 million in aid for victims was launched a week after the storm ravaged southern and central regions of the archi-pelago on December 16, leaving 406 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.

But UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez said Thursday the target would be revised after more than 66 field assessments showed the destruction was far worse than initially thought. “One month since the first landfall of Super Ty-phoon Rai we realise that we have badly underesti-mated the scale of devastation,” Gonzalez told a virtual briefing.

More than 1.5 million houses were damaged or destroyed in the storm — almost a third more than in 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan — Gonzalez said, adding more resources were “badly needed”.

Only 40 percent of the funds had been received, Gonzalez said, calling for solidarity with the Philip-pines to avoid the typhoon becoming a “forgotten crisis”.

Typhoon-hit areas already struggling with Covid-19, poverty and malnutrition had seen their economies “literally flattened”.

“This is a very fragile region,” he said. Humani-tarian groups have been working with the govern-ment to distribute food packs, drinking water, tents and materials to rebuild houses.—AFP



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