Oct 252013

The Australian government will be giving up to P124 million in aid to the victims of last week’s earthquake in Central Visayas and around P20 million to the families affected by the crisis in Zamboanga City, its embassy in the Philippines said Friday.

In a statement, the Australian Embassy said the financial assistance to the earthquake victims will include P44 million worth of supplies such as family survival kits containing sleeping mats, mosquito nets, and water containers through the Philippine Red Cross, rice through the World Food Programme, and health and dignity kits for women through the UN Population Fund.

It said Australia will also provide P40 to provide “critical relief needs” identified in the UN Action Plan such as shelter, water and sanitation, and early recovery activities. Another P40 million, it said, will be given to replenish prepositioned supplies with partners.

Aside from this, the embassy said the Australian Government-funded Provincial Roads Management Facility (PRMF) is also working with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to assess the damage to roads and bridges

“The devastation caused by the earthquake, particularly in Bohol, is enormous and staggering. With more than 200 lives lost, 380,000 people displaced, and ongoing aftershocks that aggravate people’s suffering, the extent of assistance required is also massive,” said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell in the statement.

He added that the Australian government has had “a long-standing development partnership” with Bohol province, making the quake’s impact even more “heartbreaking.” 

“Australia will continue to assist the Philippine government’s well-coordinated efforts to address this crisis,” he said.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the death toll from the magnitude-7.2 earthquake which hit the Central Visayas region last week has gone up to 201. It also said the quake has affected 631,605 families or 3,158,869 people in 1,494 villages in 59 towns and six cities in six provinces. Bohol and Cebu were the hardest-hit provinces.

Zambo crisis

In a separate statement, meanwhile, Tweddell said Australia’s additional P20 million contribution to Zamboanga will help in the resumption of educational services in areas affected by the conflict.

“These will provide safe environment to children, help them regain sense of normalcy and support their psychosocial recovery and their education,” he said.

Earlier, the Australian government already around P10 million worth of food, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, blankets, water containers, kitchen and hygiene kits for people left homeless by the conflict.

The Australian Embassy said the items were made available through partnerships with the Philippine Red Cross, the World Food Programme, and the United Nations Population Fund. Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News

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