MANILA -- The European Union is allocating €570,000 or around PHP34 million in humanitarian funding to deliver emergency relief assistance to families affected by powerful tropical storm "Vinta", which wreaked havoc across large parts of the southern Philippines just before Christmas.
In a statement, the EU Delegation to Manila said the funds will be used to address the immediate needs of those who have been most affected by the tropical system in the heavily hit areas.
“This EU contribution underlines our commitment to the people of the Philippines, many of whom have suffered great losses as a result of tropical storm Vinta and are in dire need of immediate assistance. My thoughts are with the victims and all affected by the catastrophe," said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
“The funding will enable our humanitarian partners to deliver life-saving aid to those most in need, to ensure that they have the capacities to face the grave hardships," the EU official added. Tropical Storm "Vinta", known internationally as Tembin, struck the southern part of the Philippines on December 22, leaving a trail of destruction in at least 23 provinces across Mindanao.
As of December 28, over 700,000 people were recorded affected, including over 100,000 of whom are presently displaced.
This includes communities who were already displaced by the ongoing conflict in the region, and are therefore in a state of extreme vulnerability.
Initial assessments show that over 2,600 homes have also been damaged, more than 60 percent of which were completely destroyed.
The EU-funded assistance will focus on responding to immediate needs of the most vulnerable families, including the provision of emergency shelter and essential household items, access to clean water and hygiene promotion.  
As per the delegation, humanitarian experts from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) aid have also been deployed in some of the most affected localities to assess the situation and identify the most pressing needs.
 Within the week, United Nations, governments of China and Japan expressed readiness to provide aid to the Philippines as a response to the damages caused by "Vinta".
The EU as a whole is among the leading donors of humanitarian aid in the world, reaching over 120 million people across the globe every year.
Aid, which is channelled impartially to the affected populations - regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation, is provided through international non-government organizations, the UN and the Red Cross societies. (PNA)