UN calls for swift 'recovery, reconstruction' in Odette-ravaged regions

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2022 03:55 PM

Families build and stay in temporary shelters where their homes once stood in Barangay Boa in Cagdiangao, Dinagat Islands on January 11, 2022, almost a month since Typhoon Odette hit parts of the country. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
Families build and stay in temporary shelters where their homes once stood in Barangay Boa in Cagdiangao, Dinagat Islands on January 11, 2022, almost a month since Typhoon Odette hit parts of the country. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The United Nations on Sunday appealed for more support to hasten the "recovery and reconstruction" in areas battered by Typhoon Odette (International name: Rai) exactly a month ago.

In a statement, UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez noted that relief efforts for communities struck by Odette have recently been hampered by challenges, including surging COVID-19 cases that have sickened staff and forced movement restrictions causing "supply chain constrains."

"We need to urgently scale up support to put people on a path to rapid recovery and reconstruction. If we do not, their resilience will be compromised," Gonzalez said.

Gonzales said the UN's fundraising effort for Odette survivors has so far only collected 39 percent of its target $107.2 million, nearly a month since it was launched.

"On behalf of the UN and the Humanitarian Country Team, I call on everyone to support this Humanitarian Needs and Priorities Plan to complement ongoing national efforts and bring help and hope to the people of the Philippines," he said.

The UN official said his "top immediate priorities" was to ensure that typhoon survivors had adequate food, clean drinking water and shelter.

He also raised the urgent need to "restore disrupted power supplies across affected areas."

Gonzalez warned that typhoon survivors, especially women, were at risk of gender-based violence, exploitation and abuse.

Typhoon Odette packed maximum sustained winds of nearly 200 kilometers per hour at its peak when it hit Philippine land on Dec. 16 in parts of Mindanao and the Visayas, leaving nearly 400 people dead and almost a million displaced.

"It damaged infrastructure and livelihoods on a comparable scale to Typhoon Haiyan, forcing 2.7 million people from their homes, damaging almost l.4 million houses, and affecting 514 towns and cities, 100 of which still have power outages or no power at all," said Gonzalez, referring to super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.