|European Commission aid for victims of Haiyan|
EUROPEAN COMMISSION RELEASES EMERGENCY FUNDS TO HELP VICTIMS OF TROPICAL CYCLONE HAIYAN
In its immediate response to the vast devastation caused in the Philippines by the tropical cyclone Haiyan (Yolanda), the European Commission is making available €3 million to help in emergency relief efforts in the worst affected areas.
The tropical cyclone crossed the Philippines on 7 and 8 November. With sustained winds of nearly 300 km/h, the cyclone caused massive damage. At least 151 people are officially reported dead, with the death toll expected to increase dramatically over the coming days.
"This is one of the strongest cyclones the world has ever seen. I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives and extend my sympathies to the families and loved ones of all the victims," said Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
"As Haiyan cut its deadly path across the archipelago, the Commission services acted rapidly to make sure that urgent assistance will be made available to those most affected by the disaster. The Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) monitors the development of the situation 24/7 and our humanitarian experts remain on the ground to further assess the urgent needs for relief assistance."
The €3 million funding will cover the most urgent emergency needs in the worst affected zones. The European Commission and its humanitarian partners will closely coordinate with national and local authorities' relief operations.
Due to the exceptional strength of the typhoon and its large diameter (up to 400 km), the number of affected people is almost 4.5 million. The storm has destroyed buildings, knocked out power and communication across a number of islands, and triggered landslides and flooding. The European Commission's Department for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, ECHO, has deployed a team of experts who is working closely with the Philippine authorities and international and national humanitarian organisations on the ground to assess the situation and organise the relief response.
Despite preparedness and evacuation of almost 800,000 people in the affected areas by national and local authorities, the death toll is expected to increase significantly in the coming days, as soon as zones in Central Philippines become accessible.
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Haiyan is the 25th typhoon hitting the archipelago this year. Last month, the Philippines were hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, which destroyed the homes and livelihoods of around 350,000 people. In 2013 alone, the European Union has provided significant humanitarian assistance to the archipelago: €2.5 million have just been made available for the response to the earthquake in Bohol; for Typhoon Bopha (Pablo), a total of €10 million has been released to help rebuild the communities devastated by the cyclone hit South-Eastern Mindanao in December 2012; following flooding caused by Typhoon Trami (Maring) in August ECHO committed €200 000 to help those affected, and €300 000 were allocated in early October to assist those displaced by the conflict in Zamboanga.
For more information:
The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:
Commissioner Georgieva's website: