Typhoon destruction puts Filipino farms and fisheries at risk

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Typhoon destruction puts Filipino farms and fisheries at risk
The UN’s Food and Agriculture organisation has been mobilising support to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which tore through the country causing severe damage to the fisheries and agriculture sectors, as well as massive loss of life. 

“The super typhoon Haiyan has left a trail of destruction and thousands of lives have been lost,” said FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva. 

“The devastation caused in the country, including in the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors, puts the lives and livelihoods of many more at risk and can have a wider effect on the food supply chain and food security.” 

The FAO will do everything it can to support the government of the Philippines in the reconstruction process and to build resilience, Graziano da Silva said. 

The organisation has called for US$24m for immediate interventions in fisheries and agriculture as part of the UN-coordinated humanitarian flash appeal launched today. 

It has already mobilised more than US$1m from its own resources. 

Untold damage​ 

Although there is not a clear picture yet of the impact on the agriculture sector, it is evident that the damage is extensive​,” said Dominique Burgeon, director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division. 

The typhoon hit just at the beginning of the main rice-planting season, and FAO estimates that over 1m farmers have been affected and hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice destroyed. 

A severe impact on coconut production in affected areas is expected, and there has also been wide-scale destruction to storage facilities and rural infrastructure. 

Along the country’s coast the storm surge wiped out many fishing communities, demolishing boats and gear. 

Rehabilitation efforts​ 

As part of FAO’s immediate response to the crisis, it has deployed emergency response staff and will use the US$1m already mobilised to cover immediate needs, such as seeds and fertilisers. 

An initial total of US$24m will be needed for emergency and rehabilitation efforts including rehabilitation of storage and irrigation facilities and support to fishing communities. 

The FAO will carry out a full assessment of the damage caused to the agriculture and fisheries sectors as soon as the situation on the ground allows. 

Some 9.5m people have been affected by the typhoon, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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