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07-01-2022 | Edited News

UNOG Bi-Weekly Press Briefing - Typhoon Odette Aftermath - WFP

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  1. Exterior wide shot, United Nations flags flying
  1. SOUNDBITE (English): Brenda Barton, Country Director WFP Philippines: “The needs are increasing every day, so from the time that the humanitarian needs and priority were started that was launched on December 24, the needs have gone from 2 million people affected of up to 7 million people. There are still many many areas that we have not been able to reach, many areas without telecoms, still today without electricity. I think 18 municipalities still don’t have water, and of course we are seeing incidents with diarrhea”.
  2. Exterior medium shot, United Nations in Geneva
  1. SOUNDBITE (English): Brenda Barton, Country Director WFP Philippines: “We are really seeing a combination of factors on the ground that are of grave concern. The Philippines is already a country that has had stagnant and high levels of poverty and malnutrition in the particular area that was hit. One of the islands was a very famous tourist area, famous for surfing, people came from all over the world. In those areas 90 to 95 % of the houses has been destroyed”.
  2. Wide shot, UN flag alley with “Broken chair” at the Place des Nations
  1. SOUNDBITE (English): Brenda Barton, Country Director WFP Philippines: “It started as a tropical storm and it quickly evolved into a super typhoon and it just ripped across an area that is enormous just really erasing things to the ground, houses to the ground. The area that I saw there was no building that was untouched, no house without a roof. All houses were without roofs and it was heartbreaking because it was on Christmas eve and the Filipino community comes together and celebrates Christmas.”
  2. Exterior medium shot, United Nations in Geneva
  1. SOUNDBITE (English): Brenda Barton, Country Director WFP Philippines: “We have continued rains, we have communities that cannot go into their houses, they are living in evacuation centers and Covid, just like in other parts of the world, is now - of course - starting to rip through the Philippines with its highly dense population.”
  2. Wide shot, flag alley with United Nations in background

Three weeks after super Typhoon Odette devastated a huge swathe of the Philippines, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned of a severe nutrition and food crisis in hard-hit communities if immediate food needs are not met over the coming six months.

“The needs are increasing every day, so from the time that the humanitarian needs and priorities were started that was launched on December 24, the needs have gone from 2 million people affected of up to 7 million people.”, said Brenda Barton, WFP’s Country Director for the Philippines at a press briefing at the United Nations in Geneva. She added that “there are still many many areas that we have not been able to reach, many areas without telecoms, still today without electricity. I think 18 municipalities still don’t have water, and ,of course, we are seeing incidents with diarrhea”.  

Food security and malnutrition rates before typhoon Odette hit the Philippines were already high in areas like Caraga region where 53 percent of families were unable to afford a nutritious diet while childhood stunting was 36 percent.

WFP requires USD 25,8 million to provide food assistance to 250,000 typhoon survivors. Of this, USD 20.8 million is needed for food and cash transfers over the coming 6 months. Three weeks into the crisis, WFP so far has only received USD 4.7 million.

“We are really seeing a combination of factors on the ground that are of grave concern”, said WFP’s Brenda Barton. “The Philippines is already a country that has had stagnant and high levels of poverty and malnutrition in the particular area that was hit”. Ms Barton added that “one of the islands was a very famous tourist area, famous for surfing, people came from all over the world. In those areas 90 to 95 % of the houses has been destroyed”.

Typhoon Odette was the strongest typhoon that hit the Philippine archipelago in 2021. Notwithstanding its relatively low death toll, Typhoon Odette (known internationally as Rai), had been devastating. It had made landfall nine times over the course of two days in mid-December in an area the size of Austria.

“It started as a tropical storm and it quickly evolved into a super typhoon and it just ripped across an area that is enormous just really erasing things to the ground, houses to the ground”, Ms Barton recalled. “The area that I saw there was no building that was untouched, no house without a roof. All houses were without roofs and it was heartbreaking because it was on Christmas eve and the Filipino community comes together and celebrates Christmas.”

The situation is worsening due to rains and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have continued rains, we have communities that cannot go into their houses, they are living in evacuation centers and Covid, just like in other parts of the world, is now of course starting to rip through the Philippines with its highly dense population”, said Ms Barton.  

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