An emergency operation is underway in the Philippines, where floods have affected more than 3.5 million people and forced more than a million to evacuate their homes. The European Commission is providing €700 000 of humanitarian aid, which will be distributed through its partner organisations.
The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, said: ‘In the last two weeks the Philippines have been battered by torrential monsoon rains and two typhoons, Saola and Haikui.
‘Right now, in the emergency response phase, our primary objective is to make sure aid moves quickly to those in greatest need. It is also hoped that our past investments in disaster preparedness projects will have contributed to limiting the death toll.’
In Manila 615 000 people have sought refuge with relatives and friends and more than 410 000 people took shelter in 930 evacuation centres.
The Commission's humanitarian funding will assist 127 000 poor and vulnerable people, including those in remote communities which have been cut off. The money will be used primarily to provide food, water, shelter, medical aid and sanitation, as well as to help clean up debris.
The Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world, with 268 recorded natural disasters over the last three decades. In 2011 the country was badly affected by three major typhoons and floods, for which the European Commission provided €7.6 million of humanitarian assistance. In early 2012, an additional €3.55 million in humanitarian aid was provided to support recovery efforts in areas affected by the worst of the cyclones.