European Commission provides €3 million in rapid aid to victims of Typhoon Bopha
Following the five-day passage of Typhoon Bopha across the Philippines last week and an assessment that has identified large-scale humanitarian needs, the European Commission today released €3 million to provide emergency assistance to those worst affected, targeting vulnerable groups such as children, households run by single women, and the elderly.
The Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world, and Bopha was the most powerful typhoon to hit the country this year. Despite extensive and timely mitigation efforts undertaken by the Government of the Philippines before the typhoon made landfall, the devastation and destruction caused by the storm were still enormous. So far, national authorities report more than 500 people dead, while more than 800 others are still missing and some 300,000 people have been displaced, nearly half of whom are still in evacuation centres.
President Benigno Aquino declared a State of National Calamity on 7th December. By then, people had begun returning to their homes after the typhoon had passed and the extent of the flooding, power cuts, mud slides and the damage or total destruction of people's homes became fully apparent. The typhoon affected people in many parts of the country and in many different ways. Coastal fishing communities lost their boats and infrastructure vital for their livelihoods, while inland corn and rice fields were destroyed, delaying the harvest by at least six months.
"I want to express my condolences to the people of the Philippines for the death and loss they have suffered due to this typhoon, which is yet another example of the growing trend of extreme weather conditions – and for which we must prepare and respond," said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "Today's funding will go towards providing life-saving assistance to meet urgent basic needs such as food, water and shelter of those in greatest need, in particular children, pregnant women and the elderly. This aid will also be delivered in a way that considers the risks of future disasters from the outset and which is sensitive to the needs of the most vulnerable."
The assistance will be distributed by the Commission's international humanitarian partner organisations that were already present in the country before the typhoon hit. The Commissioner added: "The coordination of our aid efforts is of the essence at present. It is key if we are to ensure that the right aid reaches those in greatest need as soon as possible."
The European Commission has provided €33 million of humanitarian aid to the Philippines in response to natural disasters since 1997. EU humanitarian funding has also contributed to the better preparedness and prevention measures in this highly disaster-prone country. The Commission's Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) has financed €7.7 million worth of projects in the Philippines since 1998 and in 2012-2013 is contributing a further €11 million to the Southeast Asia region including projects for Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao and Burma/Myanmar.
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