Australia offers P307M in aid for ‘Pablo’ victims

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05:10 PM December 18th, 2012

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By: Fat Reyes, December 18th, 2012 05:10 PM

AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Australia on Tuesday announced that it has increased its assistance to P307 million in response to the increasing humanitarian needs of the victims of Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha), the worst storm to hit the Philippines this year.

The announcement was made by Australian Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Andrew Byrne during a meeting with World Food Programme (WFP) officials at the WFP warehouse in Taguig City.

“This assistance reflects the Australian people’s commitment to helping our friends in times of need,” Byrne was quoted as saying in a statement by the Australian Embassy in Manila.

“I hope Australia’s humanitarian assistance can help some of the worst-affected families to rebuild their lives,” Byrne added.

The embassy noted that of the P307 million, P84 million were provided for pre-positioned emergency, food, and health supplies through the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), World Food Programme (WFP), and United Nations Population Fund;

P126 million were provided for response to the UN appeal, including rice stocks through the WFP, emergency shelters through Habitat International, livelihood support through the International Labour Organization (ILO),  and health supplies through the UN Population Fund;

P84 million were provided for access to clean and safe water for 25,000 people, emergency shelter for 3,500 vulnerable families, and setting up of safe, child-friendly spaces for 3,000 children through Oxfam Australia, Save the Children Australia and Caritas Australia; P12.6 million (A$300,000) were provided to non-government organisations working in Mindanao to assist specific emergency relief need of needs of persons with disabilities.

Bryne, in his statement, also noted how the number of necessities for people affected by the typhoon remained “staggering,” and how nutrition and health risks remained “alarmingly increasing especially among the most vulnerable populations including children, women, elderly and disabled.”

“The Australian Government understands that humanitarian assistance is not enough. Australia’s aid program also targets P462 million of its annual aid program budget of P5.5 billion on reducing disaster risk and enhancing disaster preparedness across the country,” Byrne said.

Latest reports had noted that the death toll from the Typhoon, which battered Visayas and Mindanao in early December, rose to 1,046, while 841 remained missing.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) had also said that damages from the onslaught of the typhoon was pegged at P24 billion,  and that P16 billion were damages from agriculture.

Meanwhile, in a press statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) noted that the Philippines had so far received P 665,832,787.39 in financial assistance from the international community, aid agencies, various groups and individuals, and that material donations continued to arrive.

“World leaders have expressed their solidarity with the Filipino people for the suffering being endured by our kababayans down South during, what is supposed to be, a festive season in the country,” the DFA said in a statement.

“Numerous Filipino community organizations worldwide also eagerly responded to the pleas for help of their countrymen,” it added.

Among the countries and organizations that had given their donations in cash assistance, in relief goods, in supplies, and in pledges are the following: Australia, Asean-HA, Canada, China, European Union, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Unicef, United Kingdom, United States, and the World Food Programme.

It said that the donations received by the department and Philippine diplomatic and consular missions abroad were forwarded to various government agencies and private charitable institutions to be spent or used in their respective relief efforts across the affected areas.

It added that further contributions to the relief and reconstruction efforts may be sent directly either to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), or the Philippine Red Cross.

Latest reports had noted that the death toll from the Typhoon, which battered Visayas and Mindanao in early December, rose to 1,046, while 841 remained missing.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) had also said that damages from the onslaught of the typhoon was pegged at P24 billion, and that P16 billion were damages from agriculture.

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