24,500 Pablo-affected families homeless for Christmas

Voltaire Tupaz
Ongoing efforts to distribute emergency shelter are still insufficient as over 24,000 families remain homeless

MANILA, Philippines – Providing tens of thousands of homeless victims with a roof over their heads is the top priority need in areas badly hit by Typhoon Pablo, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In a report released on Saturday, December 22, covering the period December 18 to 21, OCHA said about 24,500 families remain homeless despite ongoing humanitarian efforts to distribute emergency shelter.

“The immediate need is to provide emergency shelter support. This consists of shelter materials, including a basic tool kit such as hammer and nails. We have to help people get back on their feet,” OCHA Philippines head David Carden told Rappler.

The low pressure system that threatens more downpours in the worst-affected provinces like Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental “highlights the critical need for emergency shelter,” the report also said.

Large humanitarian needs

According to government estimates, the number of damaged houses has reached 128,476, nearly 54,900 of which were completely destroyed. Official information indicated that infrastructure in affected areas suffered a staggering loss of more than US$836 million.

“It is very clear that the humanitarian needs in the affected ares are very large and very significant. In most of these municipalities, houses were completely destroyed. In Cateel (Davao Oriental), 100 percent destruction,” Carden said.

Meanwhile, nearly half of those displaced in Region XI are from the province of Compostela Valley. In the town of Laak, there is an urgent need for food, water, bed kits, mosquito nets and health assistance, OCHA said.

Evacuation centers

The evacuation centers could no longer accommodate the thousands of internally displaced people. At least 11,700 people are already cramped in only 43 evacuation centers, according to a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) report.

At least 203,969 other family-evacuees, or 822,493 persons, are staying in their friends and relatives’ houses.

OCHA’s humanitarian partners have started providing DSWD with 104,979 emergency shelter kits containing tarpaulins, fixings and tools, and repair kits for distribution.

However, the humanitarian response is dealing with financial constraints as only half of the needed money for emergency shelter needs has been met. – Rappler.com

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