Foreign aid pours in for ‘Odette’ victims

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
Foreign aid pours in for �Odette� victims
A resident stands inside their destroyed house next to mudded clothes in Loboc town, Bohol province on December 21, 2021, days after super Typhoon Rai devastated the province.

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 12:43 p.m.) — The European Union and several countries have pledged donations adding up to at least P275 million to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Odette. 

Odette, internationally named "Rai," is the strongest typhoon to batter the disaster-prone Philippines this year. By the national police's December 21 tally, some 375 died due to the storm. That number has yet to be validated by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The country's disaster agency estimates at least P550.36 million in damage to agriculture and infrastructure.

EU pledges P95 million

The European Union on Wednesday announced that it would be donating an initial 1.7 million euros (P95.86 million) in humanitarian funding for the provision of assistance to victims of Typhoon Odette.

"[T]he EU stands by the Filipino people in these difficult times and has started to provide emergency relief actions to those affected in close cooperation with our humanitarian partners," Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic is quoted as saying in a statement.

The EC added that humanitarian partners will also improve healthcare services, including hygiene education to prevent the spread of waterborne infections.

Cash grants will also be given to those displaced by the typhoon.

The initial 1.7 million euros was drawn from the EU's Acute Large Emergency Response Tool (ALERT). This fund can be topped up in the future, the EU said, adding that it continues to closely monitor the humanitarian emergency and needs of the Philippine population.

Canada commits P120 million

Meanwhile, Canada will be providing approximately P120 million in financial assistance to those affected by Odette. 

"My heart goes out to the people of the Philippines, whose lives have been forever changed by last week’s super typhoon," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday on Twitter. 

"In response to this natural disaster, Canada is providing financial assistance — including through the Red Cross, which will help address immediate needs on the ground, such as water and sanitation."

In a statement, the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines said up to CAD 3 million or about P120 million will be committed to immediate ‘Odette’ relief efforts. Some P20 million will be given to the urgent Red Cross response.

The embassy added that Canada has provided some P40.8 billion in international assistance to the Philippines over the last 35 years. 

The statement posted on the European Commission's website went on to say that the money would be used to fund the immediate needs of Odette victims such as food, drinking water, shelter, and other urgently needed household items.

China, US also send assistance

The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Wednesday announced that it would be providing some P50 million in emergency cash assistance to the Philippine government to augment its relief and recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in the Philippines said it is donating P10 million in immediate assistance to communities devastated by Odette.

The consulate said the assistance will be provided through the US Agency for International Development which is "partnering with Action Against Hunger to provide food, water, hygiene supplies, and other relief items to people affected by the typhoon in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands."

"This initial USAID assistance will help restore water supply services and sanitation facilities, as well as promote hygiene practices to keep people safe and healthy," the US embassy added.

USAID, in support of the United Nations World Food Program and as part of its year-long disaster preparedness assistance, regularly transports relief supplies, including enough food provided by the Philippine government to feed 20,000 families, and deploys mobile operations vehicles to support emergency telecommunications.

"USAID is also partnering with the International Organization for Migration to help manage evacuation shelters and provide critical relief supplies, including heavy-duty plastic sheeting to meet critical shelter needs for 3,800 families," the embassy said.

It added that since 2010, USAID has provided disaster relief and recovery aid worth P16.9 billion to the Philippines in addition to strengthening the disaster risk reduction capacity of over 100 cities and municipalities across the country.

According to a report by CNN Philippines, the following have also announced donations to typhoon relief efforts:

  • New Zealand (P16.89 million)
  • Ireland (P14.11 million)
  • Singapore (P3 million)
  • Hungary (P3 million)

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