By Roy Mabasa
The European Union (EU) on Thursday announced that it is allocating €570,000 (PHP 34 million) in humanitarian funding to deliver emergency relief assistance to families affected by the deadly Tropical Storm Vinta, which wreaked havoc across large parts of Mindanao days before Christmas.
In a statement, the EU said the funds will be used to address the immediate needs of those who have been most affected by the tropical system in the heavily hit areas.
“This EU contribution underlines our commitment to the people of the Philippines, many of whom have suffered great losses as a result of Tropical Storm Vinta and are in dire need of immediate assistance. My thoughts are with the victims and all affected by the catastrophe,” said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
Stylianides added that the funding will enable EU humanitarian partners to “deliver life-saving aid to those most in need, to ensure that they have the capacities to face the grave hardships.”
Furthermore, the EU official said the funding assistance will focus on responding to immediate needs of the most vulnerable families, including the provision of emergency shelter and essential household items, access to clean water and hygiene promotion.
It was learned that humanitarian experts from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) aid have already been deployed in some of the most affected localities to assess the situation and identify the most pressing needs.
Tropical Storm Vinta (international name “Tembin”) hit Mindanao on December 22, leaving at least 160 people dead while 176 are reported missing. Authorities said casualties are expected to increase when more areas become accessible.
More than 670,000 people have been affected, including over 140,000 presently displaced.
Based on initial assessments, over 2,600 homes have also been damaged, more than 60% of which were completely destroyed.
Vinta is considered the deadliest cyclone to strike Mindanao since Typhoon Bopha in December, 2012.
As a whole, the EU is among the leading donors of humanitarian aid in the world, reaching over 120 million people across the globe every year. Aid, which is channeled impartially to the affected populations — regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation, is provided through international NGOs, the United Nations and the Red Cross societies.