Australia supports ongoing recovery efforts in Yolanda-hit areas
On 8 November 2014, a year ago today, Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit provinces in the Eastern Visayas. Yolanda was the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record and the strongest storm globally to have made landfall.
Australia was one of the first countries to respond to the needs of those who were severely affected – providing over Php1.64 billion (A$41 million) in immediate humanitarian assistance for food aid and emergency supplies of drinking water, food, clothing, hygiene and health kits. Australians were also among the first international personnel to arrive in the worst affected areas, with members of Australian Medical Assistance Team, Australian Defence Force, and Australian Federal Police deployed to assist the victims.
In remembrance of the anniversary of Yolanda, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said: “The loss of life and damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda was unprecedented. Responding to the disaster would be a massive challenge to any country in the world. I have travelled to the affected areas a number of times since the disaster and, while shocked at the extent of the devastation, I must express my admiration for the resilience and courage of the Filipino people.”
“I have nothing but the highest regard for the way Filipino officials and people have responded to this challenge and have been proud for Australia to do its bit in support. As a close friend of the Philippines, Australia continues to work with the Philippine Government and our partners on the ongoing recovery efforts.”
Ambassador Tweddell today visited Palo, Leyte to hand over housing units to families who are unable to return to their homes after the typhoon. The housing units were constructed by Gawad Kalinga with support from the Australian Government.
“In the year since Yolanda struck, Australia has expanded its ongoing assistance to the Philippines Government and other partners to ensure that the country is better prepared to manage and respond to future disasters,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
In the period since Yolanda, Australia has provided Php1.45 billion (A$36.3 million) to support the ongoing, longer-term recovery and reconstruction tasks in the affected areas including:
o Php 920 million (A$23 million) for construction of up to 617 classrooms and day-care centres
o Php160 million (A$4 million) for community small grants to help approximately 35,000 people restore livelihoods
o Php292 million (A$7.3 million) to help 12 local government units and 150 communities build back better through risk assessments, updated land use planning and building codes, and establishing early warning systems
o Technical assistance through deployment of seven (7) Australian Civilian Corps recovery specialists to support the planning, implementation and coordinate of recovery and reconstruction work
o Php40 million (A$1 million) for replenishment of pre-positioned stocks of dignity kits and of rice and high energy biscuits.
“This assistance demonstrates the depth of the friendship between our two countries,” Ambassador Tweddell said. “We will continue to coordinate our assistance with the Philippine Government and other actors to ensure that it is reaching those who need it most.” ENDS