Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR131029: Australian officials visit quake-hit areas in the Visayas

Australian officials visit quake-hit areas in the Visayas
29 October 2013

Australian Embassy Manila officials will visit the provinces of Bohol and Cebu on 29-30 October. The two provinces were the hardest hit by the earthquake that struck the Visayas last 15 October.

The visits follow the Australian Government’s recent announcement of a Php 124 million (A$3.1 million) aid package to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs following the destruction caused by the earthquake.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said, “Australia, as a close friend of the Philippines, is supporting the Philippine Government’s efforts to provide relief and meet recovery needs of the people who are suffering from the devastating impact of the earthquake.”

Ambassador Tweddell will visit earthquake-affected areas in Cebu City, including the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Jesus. He will also meet with the partners and beneficiaries of the Australian Government’s aid program in Cebu, including the Fair Trade Shop operated by the Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center, Inc. and the Balay Dangpanan Crisis Center for Women and Children run by the Venue for Initiative and Genuine Development Foundation, Inc.

The two organisations have received grants from the Australian Government-funded Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP) to help train farmers and also support a temporary shelter catering to women and children victims of domestic violence.

Mr Layton Pike, Minister Counsellor for Australian Aid, will also visit areas hardest hit by the earthquake in Bohol, including the municipality of Loon. He will also lead the distribution of relief supplies from the Australian Government.

Mr Pike will also inspect the extent of the earthquake’s damage on gravel roads that were previously rehabilitated by the Australian Government-funded Provincial Roads Management Facility (PRMF). PRMF engineers are working with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to assess damage to roads and bridges in Bohol.

Australia’s package of support includes Php44 million (A$1.1 million) worth of prepositioned 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.

Australia will also provide Php40 (A$1 million) to respond to other critical relief needs identified in the UN Action Plan such as shelter, water and sanitation, and early recovery activities. A further Php40 million (A$1 million) will also be provided to replenish prepositioned supplies with partners.