The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided an additional P170 million ($3.5 million) to bolster the Philippine government’s capacity to help protect high-risk communities against the impacts of natural disasters.
The U.S. Embassy Information Office in the Philippines in a statement said USAID will assist communities in Metro Manila, Northern Samar, and Maguindanao provinces that are highly prone to frequent earthquakes, typhoons, and floods.
USAID will 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.
USAID’s assistance will also help train evacuation center managers to organize safe evacuations that include safeguards and social distancing given COVID-19. And, USAID partners will be ready to augment the Philippines’ disaster response and logistics capabilities to deliver relief assistance when disasters strike, the statement said.
“Through this assistance, we hope that Filipino communities are able to prepare, mitigate, and recover quickly from the negative impacts of natural disasters,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law in the statement.
“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.
The announcement coincided with the October 13 commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, 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, USAID has provided Php16.5 billion ($340 million) in disaster relief and recovery assistance for more than 100 cities and municipalities in the Philippines.