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UN, countries vow support for C. Visayas rehabilitation after quake

MANILA, Philippines — The international community has vowed to support the Philippines as the country mounted relief and rehabilitation efforts following the powerful quake that struck the Visayas early Tuesday.

In separate statements, the United Nations relief arm, the European Union and several countries have expressed readiness to provide assistance to the country while conveying condolences for lives lost in the 7.2-magnitude temblor.

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“The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines (Luiza Carvalho) has expressed her condolences to the Government and has offered assistance to help the affected people. The United Nations and its humanitarian partners stand ready to support the Government’s ongoing efforts for relief, assistance and assessments,” said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department of the European Commission, the EU’s policy-making body, said it would be ready to send experts to help assess immediate needs in affected areas.

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“The damage assessment in the Philippines is underway following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the central Philippine island of Bohol in the early hours of [Tuesday] morning,” said the European Commission said in a statement on its website.

“If it turns out the earthquake has caused major destruction that requires immediate humanitarian assistance, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is ready to dispatch its experts to the region. They will then help to assess the needs on the ground and to liaise with humanitarian organisations working in the affected area,” said European bloc said.

The EU has been a constant provider of assistance to the Philippines, providing Euro 10 million or nearly P600 million earlier this year to back up government’s relief operations in provinces severely hit by Typhoon Pablo, which lashed Mindanao in December 2012.

The United States, among the first to provide emergency response in times of disaster in the Philippines, reaffirmed its commitment to support the Philippines “in times of need.”

“The US extends our deepest condolences for the tragic loss of life and injuries as well as damage caused by the earthquake in Bohol, Philippines. America has always stood by the Philippines in times of need and we do so now,” said US Embassy in Manila.

The Embassies of Australia, Israel and the United Kingdom also conveyed their sympathies to the Philippine government for the destruction wrought by the quake.

“On behalf of the Australian Government and people, I extend heartfelt sympathies for the loss of lives and destruction resulting from this devastating earthquake,” said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell.

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The Israeli government conveyed the same message as it expressed hopes for the country’s immediate recovery.

“We continue to stand in solidarity with the Filipino people and pray for a swift recovery. We are assured that, as always highlighted during such trying times, the strong resolve of the Filipino people will see the steady recovery of the affected areas,” the Israeli Embassy in Manila said in a statement Tuesday night.

UK Ambassador Designate Asif Ahmad sent his message to the Philippines early Tuesday, citing the kindness that the quake-hit region had shown visiting British citizens.

“Whilst there have been no reports of injury to Britons, this is a region that has proven to be hospitable to many British nationals over the years. Everyone familiar with the affected parts of the country will join me in the hope that the community recovers from what has been a difficult day,” Ahmad said.

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TAGS: Australia, Bohol, calamity, Cebu, Disaster, Earthquake, European Union, Global Nation, international aid, Israel, Philippines, relief and rehabilitation, rescue, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States, Visayas region
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