- Posted February 24, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
US gov’t gives aid to Pablo (Bopha)
CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL, PHILIPPINES (Feb. 20) — The United States government has donated 2.1 million kilos of rice for the typhoon-stricken provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley to help feed thousands of families affected by typhoon Pablo.
US Ambassador to the Philippines, Harry K. Thomas, Jr. personally handed over the rice donation at the Cateel Typhoon Response Hub, Wednesday morning which will be channeled through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for fair and transparent distribution.
The 2.1 million kilos of rice contribution is part of the total 5.5 million kilos or 55 metric tons of rice the US government is providing for typhoon Pablo victims in Mindanao, wherein the first 1.7 million kilos were handed over by USAID Philippines Mission Director Gloria Steele in Davao City last January 18.
During his visit, the ambassador said that the US government in collaboration with the Department of Health is providing medium-term assistance valued at 41 million pesos through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) intended to health projects for the restoration of rural health services.
Additionally, the US government also offered medical assistance including zinc supplementation for the treatment of diarrhea in town of Boston and provided health kits to 4,500 families in Davao Oriental and 1,175 families in Compostela Valley.
Meanwhile, backing the efforts of local governments and communities to prevent and curtail the impact of disasters in the future, Ambassador Thomas announced that the US government is allocating a new funding amounting to 246 million pesos or 6 million US dollars in carrying out disaster risk reduction activities in the Philippines.
He said that this funding aims to bring disaster reduction programs to local government units and communities including Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. Training communities on how to set up disaster early warning systems, developing contingency plans for evacuation and establish structures fast, and appropriately response when disaster strikes are among the activities included in the program.
Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon thanked the overwhelming assistance extended by the US government who were one of the first to extend help to the province. In coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the US Military provided air transport that allowed some of the first relief supplies to reach affected areas last December.
Governor Malanyaon also thanked other humanitarian organizations including the World Food Program under the United Nations who assured the food supply up to the end of June this year.
Asaka Nyangara a.i WFP Country Director said that they have also received aid from the US government intended for the typhoon Pablo victims wherein the share of each province will depend on the needs assessment survey they have conducted last month. “The provincial government is taking the lead in the post-disaster needs assessment and based on that outcome we will be able to revise our plan,” he said.
Governor Malanyaon stated that the provincial government is harmonizing not only the relief operations but also in the rehabilitation process especially now that the province is starting its journey towards building better communities.
During his visit, Ambassador Thomas also thanked the Filipinos for being one of the first to extend aid last October as hurricane Sandy swept through the US eastern coast leaving dozens dead, thousands homeless, and millions without power. “To me, this demonstrates how strong the relationship is between the people of the Philippines and the US especially in times of great need. We sincerely hope that our assistance will meet the crucial needs of those most affected and support their recovery,” he said.
Today, the US government has provided over of 584 million pesos or 12.4 million US dollars in support the Philippine Typhoon Pablo response.
USAID Philippine Mission Director Gloria Steele said that all assistance extended by the US government for the victims of Typhoon Pablo will also be channeled through the WFP, Plan International and the Catholic Relief Services.
Ambassador Harry Thomas said that the US government stands ready to work with the Philippine government to carry out mid and long term recovery efforts in the areas of health, education, small scale infra reconstruction, and environmental activities. “We truly applaud your unsinkable and steadfast ‘bayanihan spirit’,” he said.
“This contribution is our way of expressing solid support for the courage, and heroism demonstrated of Filipinos in the wake of this calamity. We are so pleased to support the Philippine government in its effort to restore normalcy in the life of affected Filipinos whose extraordinary courage we truly admire,” he said.
By Karen Lou Deloso, Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan