An official of the United Nations (UN) assured that a “coordinated” response from the organization and its partners are already “underway” to help those in need in the wake of Typhoon Odette.
In a statement on Monday, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez said UN humanitarian assessment teams have been able to access areas and communities “hit hardest” by ‘Odette’.
“The reports and images of utter devastation they are sending back are heartbreaking and our deepest sympathies go out to those who lost so much, including loved ones,” Gonzalez said.
In response, he said UN agencies, non-government organizations (NGO), its partners in the private sector are making efforts to provide shelter, health, food, protection, and other “life-saving responses” to those affected.
“We are coordinating with the Government authorities to ensure we provide timely support and are fully mobilized in addressing critical gaps and the needs of the most vulnerable,” Gonzalez said.
He also commended the “professionalism of front-line responders” led by Philippine government officials, the Philippine Red Cross, and others in evacuation, search, and rescue efforts “in very difficult circumstances and logistics.”
“On behalf of the UN and the Humanitarian Country Team, our message to the people of the Philippines is one of solidarity and support,” Gonzalez said.
Earlier, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the damage caused by Odette in the country was “huge” based on an initial report, noting that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has already been deployed to bring relief in affected areas.
In its Monday afternoon update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) confirmed nine deaths and two injuries caused by the typhoon, while 49 deaths, 199 injured, and 18 missing persons are under validation.