UN awaits aid request after quake

Voltaire Tupaz
Red Cross, on the other hand, sends rescue team to badly hit areas

VITAL ASSISTANCE. Evacuees need shelter, food and water

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has not yet requested international assistance, but the United Nations stands ready to provide assistance in the wake of the Visayas earthquake,  Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a press briefing.

The UN official also said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continues to monitor the situation in affected areas.

Mayor Ernesto Reyes of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental has already asked for more aid.

“We badly need food and water for residents who have become homeless,” Mijares appealed, citing the city’s public high school, local hospital, highly-elevated villages and even a cemetery as areas where evacuees temporarily had taken refuge. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross sent a 6-man search and rescue team to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental and Occidental to assist in ongoing search and rescue operations. Its local medical team was also deployed to the affected areas.

Seismic phenomenon

UN has recently warned against ignoring seismic threats.

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) recently reported that out of 29,782 people who lost their lives last year in 302 disasters, 70% were killed in earthquakes. 

“The Great East Japan Earthquakes and the accompanying tsunami is a reminder to us all that we cannot afford to ignore the lessons of history no matter how forgotten,” UNISDR chief Margareta Wahlstrom said.

“In 2010 we saw this phenomenon as well when over 220,000 people died in Haiti which had not been hit by an earthquake of such strength for almost 200 years,” Wahlstrom added.

The UN official warned that “unless we prepare for the worst then many earthquake-prone  urban areas around the world are destined to see even greater loss of life in the future as more and more people move to cities.” 

In her recent visit to the country, Wahlstrom told Rappler that she will ask the UN Secretary General “if he would kindly put it on his next agenda when he meets the President of the Philippines to highlight the opportunity to give top priority to reducing (disaster) risk.” 

RUINS. A store crumbled after 6.9-magnitude quake hit Negros Oriental

Number 1 killer

The CRED study also noted that in Asia, earthquakes claimed 45, 104 lives between 2001-2010, the highest number of people killed in terms of disaster type over the same period.

Followed by storms and flood, earthquake was the deadliest disaster in the continent in 2011, killing 20,747 people.

Philippines was on top of the list of most disaster-prone countries in Asia.  

The death toll of the 6.9-magnitude quake that hit Visayas on Monday, February 6, has reached 43, according to various reports from local authorities. – Rappler.com

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