What are the needs?
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. The country has well-developed crisis management capacities but with the incessant occurrence of strong cyclones and storms, often back-to-back, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has recurrently stepped in to deliver urgently needed humanitarian assistance. Around 20 typhoons hit the country every year, many of them destructive. The deadliest one so far has been Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda), which crossed the archipelago in early November 2013 causing massive devastation.
Floods, landslides and the destruction of homes and livelihoods caused by frequent storms often leave people in need of temporary shelter, food and non-food items, clean water and sanitation facilities and primary health care, among others. Likewise, displacements because of socio-political turmoil in different zones trigger similar humanitarian needs among vulnerable populations.
Despite on-going efforts to bring an end to decades of conflict in Mindanao, sporadic outbursts of violence also cause short-term displacements of communities in the Southern part of the archipelago.
How are we helping?
Since 1997, the EU has released €72.7 million in emergency relief interventions for survivors of natural disasters and €21.3 million to help victims of armed conflicts. Further €7.7 million have been allocated for local communities to better withstand future disasters in the framework of the DIPECHO programme.
Most recently, in June 2014, the EU allocated €250 000 in humanitarian aid to assist victims of the conflict in Zamboanga which erupted in September 2013. Fighting in the southern city of Zamboanga between armed groups and government forces had led to the displacement of over 82 000 people.
In response to Typhoon Haiyan, the Commission has provided €30 million in humanitarian assistance, early recovery and rehabilitation, while an additional €10 million provided with development funds were released for infrastructure reconstruction.
In October 2013, the EU allocated €2.5 million to help with relief efforts needed for the communities who lost their homes and livelihoods because of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed over 200 people, injured hundreds and affected around 3.1 million in the island of Bohol and surrounding provinces.