European Union Triples Emergency Aid

MANILA, Philippines --- The European Union has tripled its emergency aid to victims of Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha) in Mindanano by contributing an additional €7 million. This brings the total humanitarian funding of EU to the devastated region to €10 million.

EU's humanitarian aid department (ECHO) initially provided €3 million to cover the immediate needs of an estimated 165,000 vulnerable people last December 2012.

The additional humanitarian aid will be used to fund repairs for houses damaged by the typhoon, provide food assistance, help address high levels of malnutrition especially among children and support the improvement of basic health services in the affected provinces.

"The typhoon that struck the southern Philippine island of Mindanao in early December caused some of the worst damage since typhoon Ketsana in 2009" said U's Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, in a statement. "Three months later, hundreds of thousands of survivors still face extremely difficult humanitarian conditions, which require an increase in support from the EU and other partners to address these urgent needs."

European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux said that the increase in humanitarian aid is a reaffirmation of the commitment of the European Union to help families recover from the impact of typhoon Pablo.

Experts from the European Commission's humanitarian aid service ECHO visited the typhoon zone last month. They discovered critical gaps in the relief effort, especially in the areas of shelter, nutrition, basic health care and income support.

Following Typhoon Pablo's trail of destruction in early December, the region has been struck twice by strong storms. These caused further landslides and floods, forcing more people to abandon their homes.

Typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao on December 4, 2012. The storm affected the lives of more than 6 million people. This was the second major storm to hit Mindanao in as many years, after Typhoon Washi in December 2011 which killed over 1,500 people in northern Mindanao.

By the time the storm dissipated on 9 December more 1,000 were reported killed and over 850 reported missing.

According to the United Nations some 250,000 homes, public buildings and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Additionally thousands of acres of agricultural land have been devastated including large coconut and banana plantations, leaving hundreds of thousands without food or income.

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