European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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© European Union/ECHO/Joelle Goire

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 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. In 2016, at least three powerful storms – Typhoon Meranti, Typhoon Sarika and Typhoon Haima – struck the island nation between September and October 2016. Locally known as Ferdie, Karen and Lawin, respectively, these systems caused large-scale devastation across northern Luzon, leaving more than one million people affected. Earlier in mid-December 2015, Typhoon Melor (locally called ‘Nona’) hit central parts of the island nation, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

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. The conflict has thus far displaced more than 495 000 people since 2012 and disrupted access to education for children.

How are we helping?

Since 1997, the EU has released more than €75 million in emergency relief interventions for survivors of natural disasters and €25.4 million to help victims of armed conflicts. Further €10 million have also been allocated for local communities to better withstand future disasters in the framework of the DIPECHO programme between 1998 and 2017.

In 2016, the European Commission committed more than €2.1 million to address the needs of the most vulnerable communities affected by Typhoon Meranti, Typhoon Sarika, Typhoon Haima and Typhoon Melor. To assist families affected by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in late 2013, the EU released a total of €30 million to enable its partners to deliver humanitarian aid, early recovery and rehabilitation whilst an additional €10 million provided with development funds were also allocated for infrastructure reconstruction.

In response to the decades-long conflict in the southernmost island of Mindanao, in the last three years (2015-2017) the Commission has provided close to €3 million to address the humanitarian needs triggered by this crisis. The funds supported the provision of relief items to the most vulnerable individuals as well as the management and arrangement of services at evacuation and displacement site. A further €1 million was provided in 2016 to ensure access to quality education for children affected by the conflict.

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