THE United States Embassy in Manila on Tuesday, October 20, said that the American government has provided the Philippines an additional P170 million ($3.5 million) assistance for disaster relief and recovery.
The grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will assist communities in Metro Manila, Northern Samar, and Maguindanao provinces that are highly prone to frequent earthquakes, typhoons, and floods.
It will also 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.
Likewise, the USAID’s assistance will help train evacuation center managers to organize safe evacuations that include safeguards and social distancing in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
USAID partners, meanwhile, will be ready to augment the Philippines’ disaster response and logistics capabilities to deliver relief assistance when disasters strike.
“Through this assistance, we hope that Filipino communities are able to prepare, mitigate, and recover quickly from the negative impacts of natural disasters,” U.S. Embassy Chargé dé Affaires John Law said.
According to the 2019 Asia Pacific Disaster Report, 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.
“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 commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction on Oct. 13, which encourages citizens and governments to take part in building more disaster-resilient communities and nations.
Since 2010, USAID has provided P16.5 billion ($340 million) in disaster relief and recovery assistance for more than 100 cities and municipalities in the Philippines.
In September, the USAID and the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) signed a new five-year bilateral assistance agreement amounting to P10.5 billion ($213 million) to boost the country’s economic development and growth.