Located along the typhoon belt and the Ring of Fire in the Pacific, the Philippines is highly exposed to various natural hazards. This is further compounded by conflict between the government and armed groups in the southernmost island of Mindanao. The precarious situation in the country often results in significant loss of life, livelihoods and homes. The European Union assists in the form of food, water and sanitation facilities, health services, and emergency livelihood support.
Although the Philippines has well-developed crisis management capacities, the incessant occurrence of natural hazards, including typhoons, flooding, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, often causes large-scale damage and puts a heavy strain on local resources.
Most recently, in November 2020, powerful typhoons Goni and Vamco swept across large areas of Luzon, the country’s most populous island, leaving millions affected. Earlier in January, the Taal Volcano, the country’s second most active volcano, located 70 kilometres south of the capital, Manila, started spewing lava and sending massive ash clouds and debris as high as 800 metres into the air. The intense seismic activity forced more than 300,000 people to evacuate their homes while causing severe infrastructural damage.
The ongoing Mindanao conflict, classified by the European Union as a ‘forgotten crisis’, has caused the ongoing large-scale displacement of close to a million people since 2012, creating large humanitarian needs.
In 2021, the EU provided €4 million to the Philippines to support the most vulnerable. Of this amount, €2 million contributed to disaster risk reduction and resilience-building initiatives, as well as strengthening existing government social safety net platforms. The remainder is spent on humanitarian assistance for people affected by the conflict in Mindanao, as well as for communities affected by recurring natural hazards. This assistance includes food and nutritional assistance, healthcare, water, sanitation, as well as access to safe, equitable and quality education.
In November 2020, the European Union allocated over €2.3 million as an immediate response to typhoons Goni and Vamco that struck the Philippines in quick successions. The funding provides shelter, food, health care and access to clean water, safe sanitation and good hygiene to those most affected.
In response to the Taal volcanic eruption in January 2020, the European Union allocated €750,000 to provide shelter, access to clean water, good hygiene practices and sanitation facilities, child protection and psychological support.
As an immediate response to earthquakes in Mindanao in October 2019, the EU allocated €500,000 to deliver crucial assistance to the most affected families in the worst hit provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. EU humanitarian funding provided emergency shelter, food, clean water, psychosocial support and other vital aid to the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, including female-headed households, people with disabilities and indigenous people.
To reduce the impact of natural hazards and strengthen the capacities of communities to prepare for future events, the EU’s disaster preparedness programme was set up in 1996. Current activities focus on enhancing disaster resilience of local government units and impoverished families living in high-risk urban areas in Metro Manila, through a series of activities such as local capacity building, early warning systems, education, public awareness campaigns and resilience livelihood planning.