EU to give P148M for Visayas quake victims
MANILA, Philippines - The European Union (EU) is allocating 2.5 million euros or P148 million for the victims of the earthquake that struck Central Visayas on Oct. 15.
“We have seen the destruction and suffering caused by the powerful earthquake,“ EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said. “We stand by the people of the Philippines in this hour of need and this EU assistance reaffirms our commitment to immediately respond to the needs of the families affected by the disaster.”
The donation would be used to provide shelter, water and sanitation and primary health needs of the victims and management of evacuation sites.
Ledoux said two humanitarian aid experts – Torben Bruhn, regional health coordinator of ECHO based in Bangkok, and Arlynn Aquino, humanitarian aid officer in the Philippines – visited the towns of Calape, Maribojoc and Loon in Bohol on Oct. 17 and 18 to assess the priority needs of affected residents.
The experts noted that most of the houses collapsed and access to services was difficult. Roads and bridges were blocked, damaged or collapsed, power lines were cut and water supplies were destroyed.
The EU also provided three million euros in February to assist the victims of Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao. It also donated 200,000 euros to the victims of Typhoon Maring and 300,000 euros to the victims of the recent violence in Zamboanga.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman also received yesterday a check for $100,000 from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) for earthquake victims.
Soliman accepted the donation from TECO representative Raymond L.S. Wang during a simple ceremony at the DSWD central office in Quezon City.
“The strong ties and solidarity between the Philippines and Taiwan is very evident. You are not only the closest neighbor of the Philippines and a good trade partner, but more importantly, you are always ready to help us when we need it most,” the DSWD chief said as she accepted the donation.
Soliman and Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) chief representative in the Philippines Takahiro Sasaki also signed yesterday a deed of donation for relief items amounting to 38 million yen.
The relief items include 150 tents, 485 blue sheets and other materials which can be used for the construction of temporary shelters for affected families.
Sasaki said JICA would also continue to share Japan’s expertise and resources on earthquake monitoring.
The Singapore Red Cross likewise donated relief supplies worth S$100,000 for the quake victims. SRC also sent volunteers to help with relief operations since Oct. 18.
Soliman said the DSWD has partnered with the provincial government of Bohol, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the World Food Program to draw up a new relief goods distribution plan for the 17 affected towns.
“We have set clear criteria in identifying the priority municipalities that will be receiving food packs,” she said.
The 17 towns were ranked based on poverty incidence level, number of damaged houses and number of displaced families.
The DSWD will distribute 59,703 family food packs to the affected areas from Nov. 1 to 3.
The food packs contain 20 kilograms of rice, 10 cans of sardines, 10 cans of beef loaf, 10 packs of noodles, 10 packs of coffee, and 10 packs of chocolate drink. Each pack is good for two weeks.
Based on the plan, three more rounds of relief distribution will take place on Nov. 16 to 18, Dec. 1 to 3 and Dec. 16 to 17. For these rounds, food packs to be distributed will contain 20 kilograms of rice, six cans of sardines, five cans of beef loaf, five cans of corned beef, five cans of pork and beans, five cans of sausage and 10 packs of coffee.
Over 200 people were killed, hundreds were injured and 3.1 million were affected by the magnitude 7.2 quake. Around 350,000 people have been displaced with 80 percent living in makeshift shelters outside their homes or in evacuation centers.– With Rainier Allan Ronda