EU, partner agencies celebrate progress in Yolanda-hit communities
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - On May 9, Europe Day, European Union (EU) humanitarian partner organizations came together to celebrate the remarkable resilience of communities and individuals affected by typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.They acknowledge the key support given by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) to individual agencies’ emergency response programs.

“The Road to Recovery: Rebuilding with Communities after Typhoon Haiyan” highlighted the progress made by communities in rebuilding lives and homes of Yolanda survivors six months after the typhoon hit the Philippines, leaving millions in need of urgent assistance. Together with an exhibit showcasing photographs taken throughout the course of the humanitarian response, the event featured a panel discussion evaluating the progress made so far and suggesting ways to address the needs that remain.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux emphasized: “The EU will continue to help the survivors of Yolanda in the coming months and years.” In particular, he stressed that future EU assistance will focus on strengthening community resilience through programs such as training local carpenters to build stronger houses and working with local governments to improve their disaster preparedness.

Representing the consortium of EU partner agencies, Javad Amoozegar, country director for ACF International, drew attention to the need for the government to focus on restoring livelihoods, as well as for humanitarian agencies to improve coordination and thus more efficiently fill gaps in the response.

Carin van der Hor, country director for Plan International, noted that the openness of the humanitarian response in the Philippines to international non-governmental organizations was important in delivering aid where it was needed the most. She also said the openness is important for better consultation and communications with affected communities when making critical decisions about their future.

Joining them on the panel was Alfredo Padernos, a resident of Tacloban City and station manager of  Radyo Abante. Through Padernos’ hometown is now more than halfway towards full recovery, there are still pressing issues, including the need for more transitional shelter to house the displaced population, that needed to be addressed.

David Sevcik, ECHO head in the Philippines, added that despite the logistical challenges in mounting the emergency response, ECHO remains committed to working together with the Philippine government and humanitarian organizations to mitigate the effects of future disasters.

In closing, Ledoux expressed admiration for the tenacity of the communities affected by Yolanda, saying, “All these would be without meaning without the strength and resiliency of the Filipino people.”

The program also featured the screening of short films from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Plan International and Save the Children showing how affected communities are rebuilding their lives. IOM also launched its book “Portraits of Recovery,” presenting first-hand accounts of how individuals from across the Visayas were affected by the typhoon and to what extent they have recovered six months on.

 

ALFREDO PADERNOS DAVID SEVCIK EUROPE DAY EUROPEAN COMMISSION EUROPEAN UNION FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS HUMANITARIAN AID AND CIVIL PROTECTION DEPARTMENT JAVAD AMOOZEGAR ON MAY YOLANDA
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