UN agencies and humanitarian actors in the Philippines are mobilizing to support communities hit by super Typhoon Goni, which has barrelled across the country, leaving massive devastation in its wake.
Typhoon Goni – known locally in the Philippines as Rolly – made landfall early morning on November 1 with catastrophically violent winds of up to 280 kilometers-per-hour and torrential rainfall within a 230-kilometer diameter of its centre.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 68.6 million people are affected, with 24.3 million living in the worst-hit areas. Of the 2.3 million vulnerable people living in the most affected areas, an estimated 724,000 are children.
Significant flooding and damage to infrastructure are being reported. According to initial reports, 10 people have lost their lives, including a five-year-old child, due to drowning and falling debris.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez said, “Relief workers have not waited for the landfall to mobilize teams and take action. UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs are already working with relevant Government departments and offices, Philippine Red Cross, and with private sector groups to coordinate our efforts to support the conduct of rapid needs assessments and swiftly assist the most vulnerable people caught in the typhoon’s destructive path.”
The UN agency said, “Children are among the most vulnerable in any emergency. [We are] closely monitoring the situation and [are] deeply concerned for the survival, development and protection of children at risk. Adding that it can “quickly mobilize partners and suppliers to augment Government supply if needed.”
UN agencies, for their part, are responding and supporting national efforts. OCHA is coordinating humanitarian sectors and is mapping humanitarian and development partners in affected areas to support impact assessments.
UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) is supporting Philippine authorities in the management of evacuation centers, while the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has received a request for logistical support to food distributions.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pre-positioned emergency supplies for families and stands ready to provide life-saving support. National actors too have mobilized to assess the situation as well as supporting authorities in search and rescue efforts, and in providing immediate relief to hard-hit communities as the disaster unfolds.