MANILA, Philippines- The United Nations office in Manila Friday unveiled a US$ 46.8 million fund -raising campaign over the next six months to help 344,300 Boholanos affected in the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the island province last Oct. 15.

UN resident humanitarian coordinator Luizha Carvalho announced the worldwide fund-raising program during a news conference at Yuchengko Tower in Makati City.

The fund raising period will end in April 2014.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Manila said that of the 344,300 displaced following the earthquake, 80 percent of 275,440 residents are living in makeshift shelters built in open spaces near their damaged houses.

“At this moment, the Philippines is one country that really stands alone with the highest of needs and the highest requirements,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho appealed to donors worldwide to chip in the midst of other disasters both natural and man-made that hit the Philippines like the recent Zamboanga City siege and several destructive typhoons that also battered the country that also need assistance.

But she was confident there will be generous donors who will give monetary aid to victims of the Bohol quake.

“The international community is very generous if they are able to see a good argument and a good case that is put together… and that is what we find in the Philippines,” Carvalho said.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Central Visayas last week had destroyed 53,000 houses, not to include schools, roads and bridges and agricultural crops that were also wiped out.

More than 39,000 houses were partially damaged.But Bohol sustained the biggest destruction followed by Cebu.

More than 200 people have died in the most destructive earthquake that hit Bohol.

Carvalho said that the more than 344,300 residents in Bohol badly need food, water, sanitation, especially latrines, and medical assistance.

During the news conference, Praveen Agrawal, World Food Programme representative, expressed his concern that survivors of the earthquake who are temporarily living in tents would suffer during heavy rains, hence the need to help them is paramount.

“We need to move fast. If we are overtaken by rains, the situation could become even more serious,” Agrawal said.

OCHA officials also said that reconstruction and recovery of Bohol will take time, adding that recovery planning is critical at the early stages of the UN action plan.

The Philippines has been affected by successive and simultaneous disasters in recent months such as the protracted conflict situation in Mindanao, widespread flooding in various parts of the country, including Metro Manila and now the Oct. 15 destructive earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, OCHA pointed out.

Orla Fagan, OCHA spokesperson, said there are 74 evacuation centers in Bohol and 25 in Cebu where 71,387 evacuees are sheltered.

Fagan also said in evacuation centers are 272,9l3 other evacuees or a total 344,300.

But a total 2,964,730 persons have been affected by the Oct. 15 temblor.

Under the UN/OCHA action plan, 35,000 families will be provided with plastic sheeting or tents, some tools and fixings and basic non-food items. (PNA)