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Japan, New Zealand contribute to relief efforts; UNICEF deploys emergency supplies

Japan and New Zealand have contributed to efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to victims of Typhoon Odette, which ravaged communities in Visayas and Mindanao. 

In a statement, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said it is sending generators, camping tents, sleeping pads, portable water containers, and tarpaulins or plastic sheets (for use as roof covers) to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for distribution to affected areas.

"My heart and prayers go out to everyone in large parts of Visayas and Mindanao hit by Typhoon #OdettePH. My deepest respect to the brave first responders of the ongoing disaster relief and recovery operations in the area," Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko said in a statement.

JICA Philippines chief representative Azukizawa Eigo assured the Philippines that "we will continue our development cooperation in disaster risk reduction and management as we have done in the past, to further enhance disaster preparedness and resilience, and towards building back better."

The New Zealand government, for its part, made a contribution of NZ$500,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support their ongoing relief efforts for Odette victims.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that its personnel is already on the ground performing assessments and leading the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Nutrition, Education, and Child Protection clusters in collaboration with the Philippine government and partners.

"UNICEF’s emergency supplies are ready to be dispatched to respond to people’s needs for safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, education, and child protection," it said in a statement.

According to UNICEF, 2,000 family hygiene and dignity kits, 2,767 packs of water purification tablets, additional 2,018 bottles (in 100 ml) of household water disinfectants, two collapsible bulk water storages, 50 emergency latrine kits, and 25 tents for district hospitals and Rural Health Units had been deployed as of Tuesday.

The supplies were sent from UNICEF's Mindanao field office in Cotabato City to the Dinagat Islands, Siargao, Surigao City, and Surigao del Norte.

The emergency kits contain items such as water buckets, soaps, toothpaste and sanitary napkins. 

“Our hearts are with the children and their families who were affected by the typhoon. Many children will spend the holidays without a roof over their heads, hungry, cold and in emotional distress. UNICEF is working hard to respond to their urgent needs, together with the government and our partners,” UNICEF country representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said.

Based on initial assessments, around 845,000 children require immediate assistance, UNICEF said. 

In collaboration with the World Food Programme, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has deployed three newly built Mobile Operations Vehicles for Emergencies (MOVE) units from pre-positioned bases in Butuan, Davao, and Tacloban to the disaster zones in Surigao City and Maasin City in Southern Leyte. 

"The units are part of the six MOVE units WFP co-designed and produced with DICT with an aim  to strengthen its telecommunications capacity during emergencies like this," WFP said in a press release.

WFP has also donated 12 portable satellite communication devices to the DICT and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help the authorities coordinate their responses from remote areas, and two mobile storage units and a generator for the establishment of a logistics hub in Surigao City.

WFP is also providing critical logistics support to transport 70,400 DSWD family food packs to affected areas.

The United States government earlier provided food rations and other logistical assistance to Odette-affected areas while China prepared 20,000 food packages worth P8 million. — VBL, GMA News