The tropical cyclone Haiyan, one of the strongest cyclone’s ever recorded, hit the Philippines on November 7th and 8th causing widespread damage. The United Nations estimates that 11.3 million people are affected, and the death toll continues to rise.
Unfortunately, natural disasters frequently haunt the Philippines. This past October, the Philippines was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, leaving a path of destruction which affected over 350,000 people.
The European Commission is working diligently to increase the amount of emergency aid to help the country of Philippines to rebuild in the aftermath of the massive cyclone. During her visit to the country, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, announced that an additional $7 million would be added in humanitarian aid totaling $20 million. Member States have also contributed around $25 million in aid.
The Commission’s humanitarian assistance organizations include the World Food Program, the International Federation of the Red Cross, OCHA and Telecoms Sans Frontières. The aid given to affected areas includes food assistance, clean water, emergency shelter, health services, transportation, logistics and communication. These funds ensure that the survivors are given the necessities required to move forward amidst the destruction.
Commissioner Georgieva said, “We have all seen the tragic devastation inflicted by this typhoon and … today I am personally delivering a message of European solidarity. We are standing by all the victims with immediate, large-scale assistance. The priorities now are restoring access to devastated parts of the Philippines and the urgent delivery of life-saving assistance. It is also imperative that we coordinate relief efforts so that everyone who needs help will receive it.”
To date, sixteen Member States have sent assistance to the Philippines. Some states like Norway have also contributed aid through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, which is an Emergency Response Coordination Center coordinated by the Commission. The center is responsible for search and rescue teams, doctors, hospitals and other urgently needed experts and equipment. Do you think that sufficient aid is being given to states affected by natural disasters in general? What about in the Philippines?