By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – The European Union and the governments of Sweden, Australia, United States, Germany, and New Zealand allocated PHP182 million (USD3.8 million) in humanitarian aid, following the appeal issued by the United Nations Philippines to support Manila’s typhoon response.
The humanitarian assistance will help some 260,000 Filipinos who were severely affected by recent typhoons, particularly the Typhoon Rolly that battered the Bicol Region when it made landfall on November 1.
“With support from resource partners, the UN and humanitarian community translate international solidarity into concrete actions that combine emergency relief assistance and early recovery efforts to help people get back on their feet,” UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez said Thursday.
The Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO) earmarked PHP74.5 million (USD1.54 million) while the Australian Government provided PHP33 million (USD0.7 million) through the World Food Programme (WFP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Family Planning Organisation of the Philippines (FPOP).
In a recent statement, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson AO said Canberra would stand with Manila in time of need.
“This support is even more critical following Typhoon Ulysses that caused further hardship for the people in the Bicol Region,” he said. “We have been coordinating with humanitarian partners in the Philippines to ensure our assistance is well-informed, targeted and support the Philippine Government response.”
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Sweden also provided PHP67.6 million (USD1.4 million) through Save the Children, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and Plan International.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Germany, meanwhile, coursed their assistance totaling PHP7.2 million (USD150,000) through existing projects with the UN Agency on Migration (IOM).
The UN Philippines said a number of foreign governments are also donating to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, including New Zealand, which allocated PHP7.2 million (USD150,000) through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Peter Kell, New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines, said “New Zealand stands in solidarity with the Filipino people in these unprecedented times. These communities have been impacted by Typhoon Rolly have also been impacted by Typhoon Ulysses as well.”
Last November 9, a Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) document amounting to USD45.5 million was launched by the UN and humanitarian partners to deliver assistance to typhoon-affected people requiring urgent humanitarian aid in 16 prioritized municipalities in Catanduanes and Albay provinces.
The HNP is being updated to reflect the impact of Typhoon Ulysses, which killed a total of 73 people and caused billions worth of damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., meanwhile, hailed the international community’s “demonstration of solidarity” with the Filipino people.
“Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses have brought great suffering to Filipinos. We are a resilient country and we will get back on our feet as we always do, but the generosity of these countries will make our recovery that much faster,” Locsin was quoted as saying by the UN Philippines. (PNA)