The United States government has increased its assistance program to the country to boost the Philippine government’s capacity to protect its high-risk communities against the impact of natural disasters.
The fresh aid package provides an additional P170 million ($3.5 million) capability enhancement fund, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to improve on areas of disaster management, response, and logistics in the delivery of relief assistance when disasters strike, a press statement from the US Embassy said.
USAID will assist communities in Metro Manila, Northern Samar, and Maguindanao provinces that are highly prone to frequent earthquakes, typhoons, and floods.
US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law stated: “Through this assistance, we hope that Filipino communities are able to prepare, mitigate, and recover quickly from the negative impacts of natural disasters.”
The announcement came a week after the Commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, on October 13, which encourages citizens and governments to take part in building more disaster-resilient communities and nations.
The 2019 Asia Pacific Disaster Report revealed that the Philippines’ multi-hazard average annual loss was estimated at $20 billion, with 75.8 percent of the Philippines total population living in high-risk areas.
Since 2010, the U.S. government through the USAID has provided P16.5 billion ($340 million) in disaster relief and recovery assistance for more than 100 cities and municipalities in the Philippines.
The USAID is seen to boost the capacity of community leaders and local governments to mitigate disaster risks, improve early warning systems, and develop better protocols for more rapid disaster responses. Nash B. Maulana
The assistance will also help train evacuation center managers to organize safe evacuations that include safeguards and social distancing given COVID-19, USAID said.
Local partners of the USAID expressed readiness to augment the Philippines’ disaster response and logistics capabilities to deliver relief assistance when disasters strike.
“As a friend, partner, and ally of the Filipino people, we are proud of our partnership with the Philippine government and the great strides we have made to boost the country’s resilience against natural calamities,” Law added.