By Roy Mabasa
The European Union (EU) on Thursday said it is allocating Euro 130,000 (P7.836 million) in humanitarian funding to bring life-saving assistance to the most affected Filipino families following the widespread flooding brought by tropical depression Usman which struck central Philippines in late December.
In a statement, the EU said the aid will directly benefit 15 000 people in some of the most affected areas in the Bicol region, specifically Albay and Camarines Sur provinces.
It said the funding supports the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in delivering immediate assistance through the distribution of emergency relief items such as tarpaulins, blankets, sleep mats, hygiene kits, and access to clean water.
First aid services are also being provided while hygiene promotion activities are being carried out to mitigate the spread of waterborne diseases amongst the impacted communities.
Some 4,500 people identified as most vulnerable will receive cash grants to enable them to sustain themselves during displacement and restart their livelihood activities.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
On December 29, Usman made landfall in the central Philippine province of Eastern Samar, triggering days of incessant downpours and deadly landslides that devastated multiple localities along its path.
The powerful storm has claimed more than 120 lives, affected close to 700 000 people, and caused extensive damage to over 10,000 houses — some 1,700 of which were completely destroyed.
The weather disturbance has also caused extensive damage to infrastructure and crops, disrupting day-to-day lives and leaving the livelihoods of many in tatters.
Headquartered in Brussels, the EU and its member-states are the world’s leading donors of humanitarian aid and helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO).