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U.N. Makes Funding Appeal For Philippines Relief Efforts As Humanitarian Agencies Struggle To Reach Worst-Hit Areas

“The race to save survivors and bring relief to typhoon-ravaged areas of the Philippines escalated Tuesday as the United Nations appealed for as much as $301 million in aid, and several nations deployed supply ships in an attempt to ward off the growing threat of a public health crisis,” USA Today reports (Macleod, 11/12). “More than 11 million people have been affected by what the U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has called the strongest tropical cyclone so far this year and one of the most intense on record,” the U.N. News Centre writes, noting “aid workers are laboring around the clock to get in urgently needed survival supplies, such as food, clean water, shelter and basic medicines” (11/12). “With tens of thousands of people now homeless, there is mounting concern that crowded living conditions and contaminated drinking water could lead to outbreaks of infectious diseases,” according to BBC News, which adds, “Unsafe food and a lack of access to safe water, lack of facilities for personal hygiene and safe sanitation arrangements all create a breeding ground for infections, such as cholera” (Mazumdar, 11/12).

“International relief efforts have intensified with the launch of a U.N. appeal and the dispatch of American, British and Japanese troops to the affected regions of the Philippines. But minimal amounts of aid have reached the worst‑hit areas,” The Guardian reports (Branigan, 11/12). “In Haiyan’s wake, the relief effort must deal with an enormous zone of destruction, making it very difficult to get food, water, temporary shelter, and medical supplies and personnel to millions in need,” NPR’s “Shots” blog states (Knox, 11/12). “The U.N.’s World Food Programme began distributing food in Tacloban, handing out rice to 3,000 people on Wednesday, the agency said,” CNN notes (Pearson/Walsh/Coren, 11/13). “WHO has already deployed medicines and supplies to perform 400 surgeries and cover the basic health needs of 120,000 people for one month,” according to the Global Dispatch, which adds, “Therapeutic food for children, health kits, water and hygiene kits to support up to 3,000 families in the affected areas have already been mobilized from supplies available in the country” (Herriman, 11/12). The BBC in a separate article provides statistics on relief efforts so far (11/13).

Additional coverage is available from BBC News, France 24, The Guardian, International Business Times, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Philippine Information Agency, Press TV, Reuters, Scientific American, United Press International, U.N. News Centre, USA Today, and Washington Post.