Following the widespread flooding brought by tropical depression Usman which hit central Philippines in late December, the European Union is allocating EUR 130,000 (PHP 7.836 million) in humanitarian funding to bring life-saving assistance to the most affected families. The aid will directly benefit 15,000 people in some of the most affected areas in Albay and Camarines Sur provinces of Bicol region.
This EU funding supports the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in delivering immediate assistance through the distribution of emergency relief items such as tarpaulins, blankets, sleep mats, hygiene kits, and access to clean water. First aid services are also being provided while hygiene promotion activities are being carried out to mitigate the spread of waterborne diseases amongst the impacted communities. In addition, cash grants will also be distributed to 4,500 people identified as most vulnerable, to enable them to sustain themselves during displacement and restart their livelihood activities.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
On 29 December, a powerful tropical depression made landfall in the central Philippine province of Eastern Samar, triggering days of incessant downpours and deadly landslides that devastated multiple localities along its path. According to the national authorities, storm Usman has claimed more than 120 lives, affected close to 700 000 people, and caused extensive damage to over 10 000 houses — some 1 700 of which were completely destroyed. The weather disturbance has also caused extensive damage to infrastructure and crops, disrupting day-to-day lives and leaving the livelihoods of many in tatters.
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
The European Union has signed a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.