The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. National and local authorities' disaster management capacities are solid, but given the increasing number and strength of typhoons, often back-to-back, the European Commission has recurrently stepped in to provide humanitarian assistance when needed.
Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, part of them destructive. The deadliest one so far has been tropical cyclone Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda). It’s considered the strongest one ever registered, and struck the archipelago in early November 2013 affecting millions of people and leaving a dramatic death toll. Just in the last two years, tropical cyclones Bopha (Pablo) in December 2012 and Washi (Sendong) in December 2011 wreaked havoc that killed over 1 000 people and affected millions too.
Victims of such tragedies are usually in need of shelter, food and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, healthcare, protection, education, household items and early livelihood recovery assistance. Psycho-social support, to help survivors come to terms with the sudden loss and impact of such extreme weather conditions, is also important.
In addition, the Philippines has also been suffering from long-lasting internal armed conflicts, especially in the South of the country. In recent years ECHO brought essential aid to some 300 000 internally displaced persons on the island of Mindanao who had lost their homes due to the socio-political unrest.
Since 1997, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department ECHO has allocated €72.7 million to the Philippines in response to natural disasters, and €21 million to assist the victims of armed conflicts. It also funds projects to strengthen the response capacity of local communities to prepare for and protect themselves from catastrophes.
In 2013 alone, €10 have been made available to help emergency relief efforts assisting the communities devastated by Haiyan (Yolanda). Moreover, €2.5 million were committed for the response to the earthquake that shook Bohol and surrounding provinces last October. A total of €10 million were released previously to help those stricken by Bopha (Pablo). Following flooding caused by Typhoon Trami (Maring) last August ECHO provided €200 000, and further 300 000 in September for the humanitarian impact of continuous fighting in Zamboanga.