EU okays Euro 3 million in humanitarian aid

The European Commission has granted €3 million (Php 156.34 million) in humanitarian aid funding to assist people affected both by the aftermath of Typhoon Melor (locally known as Nona) and the prolonged conflict in Mindanao.

Out of the total funding, €1.5 million (Php 78.17 million) will be dedicated to addressing the urgent needs of those impacted by Typhoon Melor/Nona, which swept across central Philippines in mid-December 2015 and resulted in devastating losses for the affected populations.

The fund will provide the most vulnerable families in the storm-stricken areas, particularly in southern Luzon and eastern Visayas islands, with essential support such as food and shelter assistance, livelihood resources, cash as well as other non-food relief items.

A further €1.5 million (Php 78.17 million) will help deliver humanitarian assistance to populations affected by the ‘forgotten crisis’ of Mindanao, where 495 000 people have been displaced since 2012.

The continued violence has destroyed people’s day-to-day livelihoods in the area, whilst triggering an increase in humanitarian needs among the most vulnerable populations. The aid will be used to provide protection and livelihood support to conflict-torn localities through the provision of food, shelter, education, basic health services as well as ensuring access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

The latest EU funding, which will be channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), brings the total humanitarian aid contribution in the Philippines to €98.4 million, since the first humanitarian operations in 1997.

Typhoon Melor, locally known as “Nona”, made five landfalls across the Philippines between 14 and 19 December 2015. With maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour, the tropical system brought heavy downpours, flash floods and landslides, affecting some 3.7 million people, destroying over 280 000 houses and damaging vast tracts of farmland. Melor hit the Philippines as it was already struggling to recover from Typhoon Koppu (Lando), which wreaked havoc across the northern region in mid-October 2015. The European Commission had then provided €500 000 to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected communities.

The Philippines’ southernmost island of Mindanao is home to several armed groups fighting against the government. For nearly five decades, the region has witnessed sporadic outbursts of violence despite ongoing efforts to bring an end to the protracted conflict.

Last year, renewed violence again displaced tens of thousands of people. The Mindanao conflict has been classified by ECHO as a ‘forgotten crisis’ due to insufficient humanitarian support from the international community, although the needs in the region remain immense.

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