Australia gives P96M more for ‘Pablo’ relief

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The Australian government on Tuesday announced additional aid of 2.3 million Australian dollars (around P96 million) to support the Philippines’ continuing relief efforts for victims of typhoon “Pablo” in Eastern Mindanao.

Geoff King, counselor of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), said the fresh aid brings to a total $7.3 million (P307 million) Australia’s aid for thousands of families still homeless and without any means of living after one of the worst typhoons in recent history hit the southern island.

The World Food Programme (WFP), the organization through which most foreign governments course food aid, said other countries are expected to confirm their aid pledges.

Roughly half of the additional Australian aid, around P48 million, will go to WFP for purchase of rice supply for Pablo relief efforts, said King in an interview at the WFP warehouse in Taguig City Tuesday.

King said Australia was also increasing assistance for shelter (through Habitat for Humanity) and for health-related items and the UNFP (United Nations Population Fund) around health-related, non-food items and working on disability, helping those who are most in need.”

Calling the Philippines’ humanitarian emergency “staggering,” Australian Chargé d’ Affaires Andrew Byrne said Australia’s support for the Philippines will never waver, whether in responding to disasters or building the country’s capacity to prepare for and mitigate the effects of natural calamities.

“The devastation caused by typhoon Pablo is enormous and Australia will continue to assist the Philippine government’s well-coordinated efforts to address this crisis,” Byrne said in a statement.

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