EU provides P148-M aid to earthquake-hit Central Visayas

By Michaela del Callar

MANILA, (PNA) -– Europe is providing € 2.5 million or about P 148 million in humanitarian aid to those affected by a powerful quake that devastated Bohol and surrounding provinces on October 15.

The funding, which will benefit about 350,000 people mostly living in evacuation centers, will be made available through the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

“We have seen the destruction and suffering caused by the powerful earthquake. We stand by the people of the Philippines in this hour of need and this EU assistance reaffirms our commitment to immediately respond to the needs of the families affected by the disaster,” EU ambassador Guy Ledoux said.

The assistance will be used to set up temporary shelters, provide water and sanitation and primary health care and for the management of evacuations sites.

Two humanitarian aid experts, Torben Bruhn, Bangkok-based regional health coordinator, and Arlynn Aquino, E.U. humanitarian aid officer in the Philippines, were sent to the municipalities of Calape, Maribojoc and Loon in Bohol from Oct. 17-18 to assess the priority needs of the affected population.

During their visit, the experts noted that most of the houses collapsed and access to services was difficult. Primary health care and potable water supply were also limited because water pipes were broken.

The 7.2-magnitude quake that struck central Visayas killed over 200 people and caused significant damage, mostly in the islands of Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor.

Thousands of buildings and homes were destroyed, roads and bridges blocked, damaged or collapsed, while power lines have been cut and water supplies have been interrupted.

Bohol and Cebu government authorities declared a state of calamity.