UN pledges response to Philippines typhoon

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The United World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is "working flat-out" to support the Philippines Government's humanitarian response to Typhoon Hagupit which could possibly impact more than 30 million people.

Typhoon Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, is expected to make landfall in the Philippines 5-6 December 2014, while the country is still recovering from Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit on 8 November 2013. [Photo/ OCHA/Jennifer Bose]

"Food, trucks or satphones [satellite phones] -- we will provide whatever is needed to help the people of the Philippines as this situation unfolds," Praveen Agrawal, WFP Philippines Country Director said .

Supplies are being readied for deployment to Eastern Visayas and Bicol regions to rapidly assist in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Hagupit, known locally as Typhoon Ruby, which made landfall Saturday night.

WFP says it has its own food stocks in-country if government supplies need to be supplemented. This includes more than 260 metric tons (MT) of high energy biscuits, almost 4,000 MT of rice, and over 130 MT of ready-to-use supplementary food. These food stocks could provide assistance to about 1.8 million people for a two-week period.

Stocks have been strategically stored in Manila, Cebu, and Cotabato, and staff have been deployed to set up a base in Tacloban. Logistics equipment has also been put in place ahead of time in the potential operational areas.

Delivery of government supplies of food to affected communities as quickly as possible entails temporary warehousing space and land and sea transport, as well as information technology (IT) support such as radios, satellite phones and generator sets.

Meanwhile, the UN Humanitarian Country Team said today that shelter and protection issues concerning women and children will be a priority in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon.

Moving people to higher ground is a priority to ensure lives are saved and the Philippine Government has taken preventative steps by evacuating more than 600,000 people in the past 24 hours.

"We are standing by and fully prepared to assist the Government in the response, should they require it," said Mr. Terence Jones, the acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

"We have experienced people in-country who responded to Typhoon Haiyan and who are available and prepared for the response," he added.

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