Australia gives A$8 million more for typhoon victims

MANILA, Philippines. Australia will provide an additional P320 million (A$8 million) to assist people severely affected by the destruction caused by the typhoons that struck the Philippines in September and October this year, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith announced.

The additional assistance is in response to the revised flash appeal launched by the Philippine government and the United Nations. An estimated 10 million people have been affected and 990 people lost their lives in the aftermath of the massive destruction and flooding caused by tropical storm Ondoy and typhoons Pepeng and Santi.

“It has been more than two months since Ondoy struck but more than a million Filipinos remain in flooded areas, and thousands are still living in evacuation centres,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith said in a statement.

“Many people have lost their crops and capacity to earn income. They have very limited access to food, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter and non-food items, and other basic services and are in dire need of assistance.”

“Australia’s further contribution focuses on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable of the affected populations, including children, women, the elderly, the disabled, and those still who are still in flooded areas.”
Australia’s additional package of assistance includes:

? P120 million (A$3 million) to help rebuild classrooms in flood-affected areas in Metro Manila, where more than 1,000 schools sustained flood damage. Assistance will include improving water and sanitation facilities, providing learning materials and classroom furniture, and retro-fitting classrooms to make them more resilient to natural hazards;

? P120 million (A$3 million) to be provided to the United Nations and Australian non-government organizations with existing operations in the Philippines to provide improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and health services and supplies; and

? P80 million (A$2 million) for food aid for the people in Northern Luzon delivered through the World Food Programme. Food assistance will include rice, oil and beans, and a supplementary feeding program for children and mothers.

This additional assistance brings Australia’s total contribution of support for people affected by the Philippines typhoons to P440 million (A$11 million). Following Ondoy, Australia immediately responded by providing P80 million (A$2 million) in food relief through the World Food Programme, and P40 million (A$1 million) for emergency supplies delivered through the Philippines National Red Cross and United Nations agencies.

“Australia is also examining options to support reconstruction efforts, following the Post-disaster Needs Assessment conducted by the World Bank, United Nations, and government agencies,” Ambassador Smith said.

“This additional assistance would build on the significant support Australia has already provided to the Philippines on disaster related activities including hazard mapping in 27 eastern seaboard provinces; main- streaming of disaster risk reduction in urban planning in partnership with the National Economic and Development Authority, the United Nations Development Programme, and local government units; community-based disaster preparedness with the Philippine National Red Cross; and typhoon forecasting with the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.”