Aussies offer P124M as help for quake victims-A A +A
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
CEBU CITY -- The Australian Government will give P124 million worth of financial assistance to Bohol and Cebu to help survivors cope with effects of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last October 15.
This, as the Cebu City Government distributed financial assistance to 33 families in 12 barangays whose houses have either been damaged or destroyed by the earthquake.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell visited City Hall on Tuesday and told Mayor Michael Rama about the assistance.
Of the P124 million, Ambassador Tweddell said that P44 million will be used to purchase “family survival kits” for the affected families.
Each kit will include sleeping mats, mosquito nets and water containers to be purchased through the Philippine Red Cross; rice through the World Food Program; and “health and dignity kits” for women through the United Nations Population Fund.
At least P40 million, on the other hand, will be used to provide shelter to the affected families, as well as water, sanitation and other “recovery activities”.
Another P40 million will be used to replenish the supplies of Australia’s partner agencies who responded to the earthquake.
The United Nations appealed to the international community last week for about P2 billion in aid for Bohol, Cebu and other Visayan communities displaced by the quake.
The quake killed 218 persons and hurt 790, said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in its bulletin last night. Eight persons remain missing in Bohol.
Some 344,300 persons were displaced, and the quake also damaged P2.2 billion worth of roads, bridges, hospitals and schools. Some P56 million in government and private aid have been distributed these past two weeks, the NDRRMC also said.
Over 3,000 aftershocks have been recorded.
Aside from the financial assistance, Ambassador Tweddell said that the Australian Government-funded Provincial Roads Management Facility (PRMF) has deployed several engineers to help assess the earthquake’s damage to roads and bridges, particularly those in Bohol.
He said they are closely working with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Interior and Local Government regarding the matter.
Tweddell then pointed out that the PRMF has rehabilitated and maintained some of the major roads in Bohol over the last three years.
In a short interview on Tuesday, Twedell said the Australian Government has decided to extend help to Cebu and Bohol considering its long-standing partnership with the country.
“I also want to express, in behalf of the Australian Government, our sympathy and condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in the devastating earthquake,” he added.
Tweddell said their partner agencies like the Red Cross, among others, will assess what the communities need and recommend how the assistance will be distributed.
Asked if the Australian Government will also be helping the Cebu City Government rebuild the condemned Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), Tweddell said he has already been briefed by Rama on the hospital’s situation. He will inform officials of the Australian Government regarding the matter once he gets back to Manila.
Ambassador Tweddell and Layton Pike, the minister counselor for Australian aid, are scheduled to visit Bohol today, Wednesday.
Pike will 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, the embassy said.
Also on Tuesday, the Cebu City Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) distributed financial assistance to 33 families in the city whose houses were affected by the earthquake.
Of the total beneficiaries, DSWS Social Worker Portia Basmayor said that 13 families received P10,000 each since their houses were destroyed, while 20 families received P5,000 each for their damaged houses.
These families are residents of Barangays T. Padilla, San Roque, Sawang Calero, Parian, Cogon Pardo, Bonbon, Pasil, Punta Princesa, Calamba, Guba, Buot Taup and Bacayan.
More families will receive assistance in the coming weeks, as the City surveys further the damage the quake caused. (With CVB/Sunnex/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.