UNDP Responds to Disasters in Southeast Asia and the PacificOct 2, 2009
New York - The last days of September brought destructive havoc to three countries in the Pacific rim. On 29 September a powerful undersea earthquake sent multiple tsunami waves speeding toward the island nation of Samoa, killing more than 100 people and destroying homes and businesses. The Indonesian island of Sumatra was then shaken by two powerful earthquakes (7.9 and 6.2 on the Richter scale) on 30 September, just as the Philippines’ capital of Manila as well as other parts of the country were inundated with monsoon-like rains from Typhoon Ketsana. The death toll in Indonesia stands at more than 1,000; in the Philippines more than 250 have perished, and another 730,000 have been displaced from their homes.
Photo: Jason Gutierrez/ IRIN
Manila - Police evacuate an elderly couple
from a flooded section of suburban
Pasig city east of Manila
Several UN agencies and non-governmental organizations are responding to the immediate humanitarian needs created by this series of disasters. Meanwhile UNDP is quick starting activities that will assist affected populations to recover in the medium term. In Samoa, UNDP is initiating a livelihoods recovery project that will first analyze what types of income-generating opportunities have been lost and then contribute to the creation of new livelihoods for affected Samoans.
In response to the Sumatra earthquakes, UNDP emergency response staff are supporting Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency with GIS mapping of the disaster areas, and working with the National Development Planning Agency on a disaster and loss assessment. In addition, a flash appeal for funding and a recovery plan are being prepared, and a bureau is being set up in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, to support the government response and recovery coordination. A UNDP waste management team from Aceh has been deployed to aid in rubble and debris clearance efforts.
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