AUSTRALIA TO ASSIST THE PHILIPPINES IN PREPARING FOR DISASTER AND AVIAN INFLUENZA
The Australian Government is providing the Philippines with a grant assistance of A$5.4 million over two years to strengthen the country’s capability to prevent and better prepare for future disasters and avian influenza.
Present during the signing were (from L-R) Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology
Director Renato Solidum, Jr, Department of National Defence Secretary Avelino Cruz, United Nations Development Program
Representative Ms Nileema Noble and Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
Angus Macdonald, head of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) in the Philippines, said the new Australian assistance for disaster will provide support for urgent geo-hazard mapping, community-based disaster preparedness, and technical support from Australian agencies for their specialist Filipino counterparts, and improve the quick response capacity of the Manila office of
AusAID. While the avian and pandemic influenza preparedness project aims to provide personal protective equipment for health workers and capacity building on infection control and hospital preparedness and response.
Implementing and collaborating agencies for the former project be the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), National Disaster Coordinating Council-Office of Civil Defense, (NDCC-OCD), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), as well as the Philippines-Australia Human Resources Development Facility (PAHRDF). While the Department of Health (DOH) will be the primary and implementing partner for the bird flu preparedness project.
A signing ceremony will be held today (21 June 2006) at 4pm at the Australia Centre-Australian Embassy with Ambassador Tony Hely signing on behalf of Australia and Resident Representative Nileema Noble signing for the UNDP along with NDCC-OCD, MGB, NAMRIA, PAGASA, PHIVOLCS, PNRC and DOH.
It will be recalled that a major landslide struck the village of Guinsaugon near the town of Saint Bernard in Southern Leyte Province, Philippines on 17 February 2006. Over 1,000 people were killed by the landslide, including over 250 children and their teachers in the village school.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council estimated that the landslide resulted in approximately P92.2 million in damage to infrastructure and P22.6 million in damage to agriculture. Some 350 to 400 hectares were covered in mud and debris from the landslide.
In response, the Australian Government provided the Philippines with an immediate relief funding of A$1 million and deployed an engineering advisory team to the disaster site. The team assisted Philippine authorities in assessing slope stability in the vicinity of the landslide site and the potential for further landslides in the province; provided technical advice on water and sanitation to the Philippines National Red Cross and local government agencies supporting evacuees; and made recommendations for future Australian assistance.