WFP says floodwaters to remain in Philippines for 3 months

10:11, October 06, 2009      

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A soldier pushes mud covering school grounds during the opening of a school after flooding in Marikina City, Metro Manila, October 5, 2009. Typhoon Parma slowly moved out to sea on Sunday after slamming into northeastern Philippines and killing 17 people, but damage and flooding, while extensive, were less widespread than feared. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The World Food Program (WFP) said on Monday floodwaters in communities affected by tropical storm "Ondoy" (international code name: "Ketsana") are expected to remain in the next three months.

But WFP country director Stephen Anderson assured that the agency has enough funds to sustain its relief operations in submerged areas until the end of the year as it appealed to international donors to continue helping affected communities.

"It's difficult. It's a challenge. But we have to look for ways on how to move forward and support efforts to help people move back to their feet," Anderson said in an interview over the ANC News.

On September 26, "Ondoy" pounded Metro Manila and other provinces in the Central Luzon, killing at least 288 people. Damage to property was estimated at 5.072 billion (about 106 million U.S. dollars), including 1.855 billion (about 39 million U.S. dollars) in infrastructure and 3.217 billion (about 67.7 million U.S. dollars) in agriculture.

Weather authorities said the flooding in the metropolis and neighboring provinces was the worst to hit the country in four decades.

Anderson said the WFP has received donations from foreign governments, individuals and private companies in the Philippines and abroad amounting to 26 million U.S. dollars.

Financial contributions have so far been used for the purchase and distribution of high energy biscuits for evacuees. It is also being used to support the relief operation of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Anderson noted that those residents living in submerged communities, particularly those near Laguna de Bay and rivers, should be given utmost priority at the moment.

"I witnessed the distribution of relief goods in Sta. Cruz, Laguna and it was quite a dramatic situation there. They don't want to leave their houses because their assets are there. They receive everything by boat because the waters there are neck deep," Anderson said. "Looks like it will remain there for three months or so."

Anderson added that a United Nations and Philippine government team will also conduct a needs assessment mission in Northern Luzon to determine the damage caused by the onslaught of Typhoon "Pepeng" (international code name: "Parma") over the weekend that killed 16 and damaged millions worth of agriculture.

"The damage to agriculture in the north is significant although the human impact there is less dramatic than here," he said.

Nevertheless, Anderson said, the WFP will identify the priority relief items to be distributed affected by the two calamities, and where and when it will go.

Source: Xinhua
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