UN agencies on standby to aid SouthEast Asian flood victims

14 October 2011United Nations agencies are on standby to deliver aid in South-East Asia where over 600 people have died and more than eight million others are affected by flooding and typhoons, with the situation expected to worsen amid more rains, high tides and river run-off over the weekend. No requests for international aid have so far been made, but UN agencies have activated assessment teams and contingency planning in the two worst affected countries, Thailand and Cambodia, as well as in Vietnam, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in a news release today.In Thailand, where the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has offered to provide emergency health kits and necessary stockpiles, 2.4 million people have reportedly been affected, 700,000 of them children, with Bangkok, the capital, and 12 provinces on high alert for heavy rains and overflowing rivers following four back-to-back typhoons.In Cambodia, where more than 1 million people have been affected and flood waters continue to rise, WHO, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are carrying out assessments together with various ministries and non-government organizations (NGOs). WFP plans to provide 500 tons of food to some 10,000 households with a ration of 50 kilograms for one month.UNICEF, which before the flood season had provided 480,000 water purifying tablets, 5,000 jerry cans and 5,000 bars of soap to the ministry of rural development, cited access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene as areas of particular concern.In Vietnam, where the Government said flooding had submerged nearly 60,000 homes and caused an estimated $55 million in crop damage, UNICEF is providing funds for water and sanitation, education, child protection and health and nutrition supplies.In the Philippines over 4 million people have been affected with at least 250,000 needing assistance, while in Laos almost 500,000 people have been hit by flooding and landslides which have damaged over 64,000 hectares of farmland, 323 roads and 42 bridges.

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