As the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan is approaching next month, members of the European Parliament's Committee on Development (DEVE) held today a panel discussion on the future challenges of humanitarian aid. The event was co-organised by the UN, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), and the Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies network (VOICE).
Claus Sørensen, Director General, European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) opened the event:
"Despite the enormous damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the transition from emergency to rehabilitation was quick. This was possible thanks to combined efforts by aid agencies, donors, the concerned governments, including civil protection authorities, NGOs and budgetary authorities," said Mr Sørensen. "Only through such joint efforts will we be able to make a difference for those most in need when disasters as devastating as Haiyan strike."
Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda) was the strongest cyclone ever recorded. It struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013, causing massive devastation in the central regions. Over 6 200 people were officially reported dead, 4 million were displaced and 14-16 million affected, out of which 6 million were children.
The humanitarian assistance and early recovery interventions provided by the EU institutions to the survivors amounts to over €40 million (ca. PHP 2.3 billion). This contribution has made a difference for around 1.2 million people. The overall EU's humanitarian assistance for Haiyan, including the funding coming from the Member States, amounts to over €180 million (ca. PHP 10.2 billion).
In addition to humanitarian assistance deployed in the immediate aftermath of Haiyan, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) carries out disaster preparedness programmes (DIPECHO) in Asia and other areas of the world prone to recurrent catastrophes. DIPECHO aims to increase the capacities of the local populations to face disaster consequences. Since 1998, €7.7 million (ca. PHP 436 million) have been released by the European Commission to the Philippines for such disaster preparedness measures.