EU hails PH’s ‘preparedness’ against ‘Pablo’


BRUSSSELS, Belgium – Despite the high death toll of typhoon “Pablo”, the European Union’s coordinating body for humanitarian aid shared the observations of the United Nations lauding the Philippines’ preparedness for the latest killer storm to hit the country.

Officials of the European Community Humanitarian Office (Echo) on Friday cited an improvement in the government response, saying that it ”saved a lot of lives,” compared with what was seen a year ago when Storm Sendong devastated parts of Mindanao, also days before Christmas.

Echo officials in the Belgian capital, host city of EU institutions, said also that a team from its Bangkok office flew to Davao on Friday to assess how it can help in the emergency relief effort. The team is expected to make a report to Brussels on Sunday.

“When Bopha (the typhoon’s international name) or Pablo hit, I think the government was  more prepared than it had been in the past,” said Jenny Correia Nunes, Echo’s team leader for Southeast Asia.

Nunes was referring mainly to the preemptive evacuation of residents in areas that were in Pablo’s path.

Dominique Gryn, Echo’s desk officer for the Philippines, added: “Today the technology is so sophisticated that we can actually predict very precisely when and where the landfall will hit. And in the Philippines we’ve seen that the preparation that the government made in anticipation of the storm in Mindanao has been extraordinary. And that has saved a lot of lives in itself.”

“And we have a clear comparison that we can draw with last year’s ‘Washi’ (international name of Sendong) which hit very similar areas and the devastation caused was much larger. Of course we’re still seeing what the impact of Bopha is; we have to be careful not to underestimate the damage. But still we can already say that the disaster awareness and preparedness had saved a lot of lives already,” she added.

Asked how she could still make this positive assessment despite Pablo’s death toll climbing to over 300 and with about an equal number of people still missing as of Friday, Gryn replied: “Yes, the death toll is rising; nobody is countering that. What we’re only saying now is that the government has taken certain measures that probably saved a lot of lives. We know this because a year ago the death toll was a lot higher.”

Gryn said Echo’s partner nongovernmental organizations in the region had also “prepositioned” themselves before the storm made landfall in the areas expected to be hit, and had begun assessing where the EU could help.

She said the EU’s assistance could fill “gaps” in the government-led relief effort.

The Echo officials spoke in a briefing with Southeast Asian reporters who were in the Belgian capital on an EU-hosted press tour.

The EU poured in some 7.6 million euros to assist storm- or flood-affected people in the Philippines in 2011. This year, it released 700,000 euros for communities affected by the floods that hit Luzon in August.

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  • kanoy

      Despite the high death toll of typhoon “Pablo”,  the
    United Nations lauding the Philippines’ preparedness for the latest
    killer storm to hit the country.,,,,,PROOF that they never expected miracles…..but you can not keep depending on sheer dumb luck…..which is the ONLY reason the death toll did not reach the previous numbers….money that should be being spent on barangay sewage projects is still being stuffed into pockets

  • malek_abdul

    Despite the early warnings and preparations made by the government still a lot of people died and a lot more missing. This is because people and government did not heed on the 2006 findings of the Mines and GeoSciences Bureau that the widely destroyed towns and barangays were in the map of the so-called flood prone area. We can’t blame the people though because they were not expecting such a deluge that never happened in the province since 1922. Again, we can attribute the cause of flash flood to the illegal logging and denuding of the mountains. Its time to plant more trees and reforest our mountains.

  • lexy5

    I think we Filipinos should not rely so much on other countries’ comments about how well or bad  we did. This (pleasing the foreigner mentality) should not be the gauge of our culture and self management. Outsiders, with due respect to their assessments, are still outsiders.  The question we need to answer is — how did we find ourselves as Filipinos manage this last natural disaster? Did we do good or bad, and if bad, how would we make it right?

  • BURADOR—Phil. Voice

    Typhoon PABLO was a MONSTER and COULD KILL tens of thousand of Pilipino on its PATH——-PABLO before LANDFALL was SOLID and category 5 typhoon, that CAN WIPE-OUT everything on its ROUT–
    But  beside of its MAGNITUDE , DEATH TOLL is MODEST and the Philippine government is in CONTROL of the situation—–
    Philippines DO NOT need HAILS from other countries like EU or UN—-PILIPINOS have MORE EXPERIENCE when it COMES to TYPHOON—-

  • Lando

    here goes again Pnoy and the administration using public relation press releases to cover-up its shortcomings

    • Jose

      ECHO is putting their money where their mouth is while you never stop whining against this administration.

  • Bert

    I actually agree with EU’s observations. Compared to Sendong, many areas in Mindanao like Dumaguete, Iligan and cdo, have lesser or zero casualty. Probably because, people are more aware of the warnings this time, they were evacuated much earlier and some precautionary measures were observed. 

  • GMMTC11

    It is remarkable to see Filipinos could still manage a smile even in such magnitude of catastrophy when in other countries you could see the wailing of people for losing their properties and to some their loves ones.

  • pepito gwaps

    Mukhang hindi kumbinsido si “pablo” na prepared nga tayo. Ayan na bumalik uli.

    • qryqry

      oo nga eh :| Naku kawawa naman tatamaan nyan.. tsk tsk

  • pfc_kulapu

    Nasaan na yong mga militante.. Na mahilig mag pa press release…
    Teddy Kupal Casino, Renato “bading” Reyes, Tandang Satur…
    Nasalanta ang mga comrade nyo. Bakit sa goberno pa humingi ng tulong..
    Nakipila pa sa evacuation center… Mga walang utang na loob…
    Mga walang Hiya. Gaya nyo…

    Kayo’y mga salot ng bayan….

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