The United Nations on Tuesday appealed for 74 million dollars in emergency aid for some one million people in the storm and flood stricken Philippines.
Relief agencies reported that flood victims were wading through neck high water to collect emergency food rations, with more torrential rain forecast as typhoon Parma lingered off the coast of the Philippines.
Some 4,000 homes were destroyed by the combined blow from Typhoon Parma over the weekend and by tropical storm Ketsana on September 26, Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN’s humanitarian coordination office (OCHA), said.
About 400,000 people around the capital Manila had fled to emergency shelters and could only return to their homes once flood waters subsided, she added, as UN agencies warned of the threat of waterborne diseases.
“We are today launching a flash appeal for six months for 74 million dollars to bring assistance to one million people following the typhoons that struck the Philippines,” Byrs told journalists.
The move followed a meeting with representatives of donor nations in Geneva.
At least 16 hospitals, as well as rural and community health centres, were damaged, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) warned that cases of diarrhoea and skin ailments had been recorded, raising fears about epidemics.
WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said the risk was heightened by the damage to water and sanitation systems, especially within areas where health facilities were out of action.
“There are fears of outbreaks of communicable diseases, as yet there have been no reported major outbreaks,” he added.
The storms and flooding, which left at least 300 people dead, have also destroyed about 117 million dollars in crops including rice, according to government estimates quoted by OCHA.
About one third of the overall appeal covers food and other relief from the WFP.
“WFP is continuing to expand food assistance to help one million people over the next three months,” said spokeswoman Emilia Casella.
OCHA said typhoon Parma was gathering strength off the coast and bringing fresh torrential rains that could trigger more floods and landslides.