Australia offers P126-M more in aid for ‘Pablo’ victimsBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – The Australian government on Monday announced that it would offer an additional P126 million in aid to the victims of typhoon “Pablo” as a response to the latest appeal made by the Philippine government and the United Nations for the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by the disaster.
In a statement, the Australian embassy in Manila noted that the additional funds would be used to provide emergency shelters, including improvements of existing shelter facilities in the worst-hit areas.
It added that emergency cash-for-work programs would be funded for debris clearing and would provide critically needed income to workers across the affected areas.
It noted that six weeks after the tragedy hit Mindanao, shelter and livelihood remained the “critical needs with over 840,000 people still displaced, including 700,000 people whose livelihoods were destroyed by the typhoon.”
“The scale of destruction caused by typhoon Pablo is staggering, and I witnessed this when I recently visited Compostela Valley. My heart went out to the families who continue to suffer,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Twaddell was quoted as saying in the statement.
“We commend the Philippine Government for its effective and well-coordinated efforts to address this crisis. Australia stands ready to help Filipino families affected by this disaster get back on their feet – and I know they can. Visiting Compostela Valley and seeing the generous and sincere smiles of the people only made me admire and appreciate the Filipinos’ resilience amidst adversity,” Twaddell added.
Last week, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) appealed for nearly a billion pesos in additional assistance for the Philippines to fund humanitarian emergencies affecting children in Mindanao due to conflict and the aftermath of the typhoon.
The Philippine government had earlier said that around 1,067 people were killed and 834 remain missing after Typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao provinces, including Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur, last month.
The Australian embassy, meanwhile also noted that Australia’s total contribution of support for people affected by Pablo reached P432 million.
“To prepare for further humanitarian responses in the Philippines, Australia will also provide a further P 84 million to replenish pre-positioned stocks used in the Philippine Government’s initial response to typhoon Pablo,” it said.
It also said that aside from humanitarian assistance, Australia’s aid program also aimed to target P462 million of its annual budget of P5 billion on reducing disaster risk and enhancing disaster preparedness across the country.