By Roy Mabasa
Following the series of powerful tremors that recently hit the northern Luzon island of Batanes, the European Union (EU) announced on Monday that it is providing € 90,000 (Php 5.25 million) in humanitarian funding to address the urgent needs of the most affected families.
In a statement, the EU said the aid will directly benefit 1,000 people in some of the heavily hit areas in the remote island of Itbayat, Batanes province.
This EU funding will be used to provide emergency relief items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, and temporary latrines in support of the Philippine National Red Cross’ delivery of much needed assistance.
It added that the aid will also ensure access to clean water, good hygiene practices and psychological support to the affected communities.
In addition, cash grants will be distributed to enable displaced people to meet their immediate household and food needs following the disruptions of livelihoods caused by the earthquakes.
This funding is part of the EU’s global contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Almost 3,000 people, which comprise the entire population of Itbayat, were displaced when three strong earthquakes of 5.4, 5.9, and 5.8 magnitudes successively struck near the town at shallow depths in the early hours of 27 July.
READ MORE: 3 quakes jolt Batanes, 8 dead
It was followed by at least 13 more aftershocks, caused devastating damage to a number of structures.
Government data showed that 290 houses have sustained damage, over 85 percent of which have completely been destroyed as of 10 August.
It was also reported that local health facilities and water distribution systems have been impacted, hampering access medical services and safe water resources amongst the quake-hit populations.