The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, with well-developed disaster management capacities. However, with the increasing number and strength of typhoons that have struck the island nation in past years, ECHO has stepped in to provide humanitarian assistance when needed. In 2011 alone, the Philippines were hit by 19 tropical storms, 10 of which were destructive. In 2012, the country was battered by the heaviest rains recorded in three years affecting more than 3 million people. In December 2012, Typhoon Bopha wreaked havoc and destruction that killed over 1,000 and affected 5 million people.
Victims of such natural tragedies are often in need of shelter, food, water and sanitation, household items and early livelihood recovery assistance. Psycho-social assistance, to help victims come to terms with the sudden loss and impact of such extreme weather conditions is also important to provide after disasters. It ensures that victims recuperate the necessary emotional strength to begin re-building their lives.
In addition, the Philippines have also been suffering from a long-lasting internal armed conflict in the south of the country. In recent years ECHO provided essential assistance to some 300,000 internally displaced persons on the island of Mindanao who lost their homes due to the conflict.
Since 1997, €40 million have been allocated to the Philippines in response to natural disasters and €21 million to assist the victims of armed conflicts. ECHO also funds projects to strengthen the response capacity of local communities to prepare for and protect themselves from natural disasters.
In response to Typhoon Bopha that devastated the southern island of Mindanao in early December 2012, ECHO released €10 million in emergency funding to provide life-saving assistance to the survivors.
In December 2011, the northern parts of Mindanao were severely hit by flash floods, causing the loss of 1257 lives and displacing some 400,000 people from their homes. Over €6.5 million were committed to assist victims by improving food security, access to water and sanitation, hygiene promotion, protection and general humanitarian aid coordination.