Fuel shortage hampering relief efforts in the Philippines

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Children observing Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction in the Philippines. UNICEF

As United Nations agencies scale up their relief efforts in the typhoon-hit regions of the Philippines, a major fuel shortage is hampering efforts to reach millions of affected people with humanitarian aid.

UN agencies say although aid is now arriving in the country, moving it to those in need is taking longer than expected due to a lack of fuel and the large amounts of debris blocking roads.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says has enough fuel to pump clean water in the Tacloban area for two days, while World Food Programme (WFP) says truck loads of relief supplies are stuck at Tacloban airport and other service centers due to lack of fuel.

Elisabeth Byrs is WFP's spokesperson in Geneva.

"Fuel will run out in a few days. But as WFP is contracting a fleet of trucks, WFP is looking for options to secure fuel. We need fuel storage, fuel bladders and we will do it as the head of the logistics cluster together with the Philippine authorities. On Thursday, we distributed high energy biscuits to 5,000 people at the Tacloban airport. Delivery of biscuits to the affected communities are due to start today. At the end of Thursday, over 34,000 family food packs have been distributed in Laite province. Family food packs contain WFP rice ration of 3kg and have reached 170,000 beneficiaries."

The number of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan has risen to 11.8 million with over 920,000 people displaced as more areas become accessible.

The $301 million United Nations appeal for the Philippines has so far received $50 million.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration: 1’54″

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November 2017
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