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World | National

Australia providing P124M in aid to Philippine quake victims

Aid workers are finding it hard to reach Bohol quake victims because of so many roads and bridges broken. The UN on Friday sounded a call for international aid for the Visayas quake victims, as Australia announced it was willing to provide as much as P124 million. PHOTO FROM ALAGANG KAPATID FOUNDATION INC. MISSION IN BOHOL
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MANILA - The Australian Government Friday announced that Australia will provide up to P124 million (A$3.1 million) in response to the increasing humanitarian needs following the destruction caused by the earthquake in Central Visayas last October 15.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said, “The devastation caused by the earthquake, particularly in Bohol, is enormous and staggering. With more than 200 lives lost, 380,000 people displaced, and ongoing aftershocks that aggravate people’s suffering, the extent of assistance required is also massive.”

Australia’s support includes P44 million (A$1.1 million) worth of prepositioned supplies such as family survival kits containing sleeping mats, mosquito nets and water containers through the Philippine Red Cross, rice through the World Food Programme, and health and dignity kits for women through the UN Population Fund.

Australia will also provide P40 (A$1 million) to respond to other critical relief needs identified in the UN Action Plan such as shelter, water and sanitation, and early recovery activities. A further P40 million (A$1 million) will also be provided to replenish prepositioned supplies with partners.

“The Australian Government has a long-standing development partnership with the Bohol province – spanning more than 20 years – making the earthquake’s impact even more heartbreaking. Australia will continue to assist the Philippine Government’s well-coordinated efforts to address this crisis,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

The Australian Government-funded Provincial Roads Management Facility (PRMF) is also working with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to assess damage to roads and bridges.  Additional PRMF engineers have been deployed to further support this assessment.  The PRMF has rehabilitated and maintained priority core gravel roads in Bohol over the last three years.

Australia places a very high priority on responding to natural disasters in its aid program to the Philippines.

 “The Australian Government understands that humanitarian assistance is not enough. Australia’s aid program also focuses on reducing disaster risk and enhancing disaster preparedness across the country,” Ambassador Tweddell said. 

The announcement was made as the United Nations sounded a call for at least $46 million in international aid for the quake victims, saying that with the quake following a string of events that rendered so many people helpless like recent storms and the Zamboanga siege, the Philippines stood alone with the "highest needs and highest requirements."