EU readies P125-M aid for 'Ompong' victims

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

September 18, 2018, 9:55 pm

MANILA-- The European Union (EU) on Tuesday mobilized an emergency aid package worth EUR2 million or approximately PHP125.06 million to support the victims of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) in the Philippines.

"The EU is supporting the people of the Philippines, many of whom are in urgent need of assistance after the devastating effects of the cyclone,” Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said in a statement. “Our contribution will help provide crucial support to those most in need and help them face the challenges during this time of need."

The amount will cover the provision for shelter, emergency relief items distribution, water and sanitation, food security and humanitarian protection for the most vulnerable among those who have lost their homes due to the strong winds, massive flooding and subsequent landslides in the aftermath of the storm.

The bloc will fund partner humanitarian organizations already working in the affected areas and will address the most urgent needs of the communities stricken by the typhoon.

A European Commission humanitarian expert has been deployed to the disaster area to assess the needs on the ground.

Copernicus, the European Commission's emergency satellite mapping service, has also produced maps of the most affected areas.

On Saturday, Typhoon Ompong made landfall in the country leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), around 893,844 persons were affected by the typhoon as of September 18.

Of the figure, at least 236,060 are being served inside and outside evacuation centers.

As of 12 noon, the NDRRMC estimated the typhoon's damage to agriculture at PHP14.3 billion in Regions I, II, II, Calabarzon, and COrdillera Administrative Region.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier confirmed that the Typhoon Ompong death toll already rose to 63 after three more bodies were recovered from a landslide site in Itogon, Benguet.

Leaders of Japan and China have also sent messages of condolences to the bereaved families.

President Xi Jinping said the "Chinese people shared the sadness of the Philippine people over their sufferings, and are willing to help as much as possible."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan is ready to provide "the maximum possible assistance," including provision of emergency relief goods to the Philippines.

"Like the Philippines, we fully understand the hardship caused by severe damages of typhoons. Japan always stands with the Philippines in overcoming this time of difficulties," he said. (PNA)