UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(Manila/New York, 21 December 2011): The United Nations and its partners are rapidly
mobilizing resources to assist the Government of the Philippines in helping the nearly half a
million people affected by Tropical Storm Washi.
The tropical storm, known locally as Sendong, swept across the Mindanao region from 16 to 18
Dec 2011, killing nearly 1,000 people in massive flooding, flash floods and landslides. Some
285,000 people have been displaced, many of whom are taking refuge with relatives or in
Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief
Coordinator, praised the quick reaction of local communities and authorities who launched search
and rescue operations, established evacuation centres and provided immediate assistance.
“The Government responded quickly to the disaster with a wide range of national, regional and
local assets,” noted USG Amos. “However, the needs are huge and additional supplies and
expertise is needed to rapidly scale up the response and support local capacity.”
Ms. Amos welcomed the Government’s decision to accept international assistance and said the
international humanitarian community is responding with all of its resources at hand.
A joint Government and Humanitarian Country Team rapid assessment of the worst affected
areas has identified water, hygiene and sanitation, emergency shelter and food as the priority
“The first priority is to help those who are displaced as a result of the floods. People urgently
need shelter and clean drinking water, as well as bedding, food and basic household items,” said
Ms. Amos. “I am allocating US$3 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to
kick-start some of this urgently needed help.”
The UN and partners are now revising the 2012 Humanitarian Action Plan for Mindanao so that
they can support the Government in addressing the needs of those affected over the coming three