US increases risk reduction aid to P246 million

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Thursday, February 21, 2013


CATEEL, Davao Oriental -- The Government of the United States (US) on Wednesday further raised its cash assistance to $6 million or P246 million for disaster risk reduction initiatives in the Philippines.

US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. announced this during his visit to Cateel in Davao Oriental around 11 a.m. Wednesday before the turnover of 2.1 million kilos of rice to the World Food Programme (WFP) for the affected areas of the Typhoon Pablo.

Thomas told the media that the P246-million cash assistance will enhance disaster risk reduction programs to local government units and its communities, including the Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

Thomas said the programs will include trainings for the communities on how to set up disaster early warning systems, develop contingency plans for evacuations, and establish structures to quickly and appropriately respond when disaster strikes.

“We will look for more rehabilitation and reconstruction of the future as we continue these efforts led by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) to assist and sustain the needs of the people and get them back from their lives,” Thomas said.

Thomas added that right now, the US Government through the US Agency for International Development (USAid) has provided a total of $12.4 million or P508.4 million for disaster response assistance for communities affected by the typhoon.

Asaka Nyangara, deputy century director of the World Food Programme (WFP), on the other hand, said the US Government has already distributed a total of 5.5 million kilos of rice, including the 2.1 million kilos of rice to them.

“We sincerely hope that our assistance will help meet the crucial needs of the most affected Filipinos and for their recovery,” Thomas said, as he also praised the Filipinos for their unsinkable and steadfast Bayanihan spirit.

In behalf of the US Government and its people, Thomas assured to partner with the Philippine Government to carry out mid-term and long-term recovery efforts in the areas of health, education, small-scale infrastructure reconstruction, and environmental activities.

Based on the data of the US, before the $6 million dollars was raised, their government already poured P2.660 billion to aid with the disaster response since Typhoon Ondoy on 2009. Its disaster response assistance alone for Typhoon Pablo victims amounted to P508.4 million.

Gloria Steele, director of the USAid, said in a media briefing though that they have yet to determine how much of the additional $6-million aid will be allocated for the two provinces.

Governor Corazon Malanyaon, of Davao Oriental, thanked the US Government for their assistance, which she said will be handed to those affected by the typhoon.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 21, 2013.

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