Brussels, 11 November 2013
The EU responds to Haiyan disaster with coordinated relief efforts
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCP) has been activated to ensure coordinated European relief efforts following the Philippine authorities' request for international assistance to address the colossal needs in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone Haiyan.
"We are all deeply shocked by the devastation caused by tropical cyclone Haiyan," said Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "The priority is to restore access to remote areas hit by the cyclone, deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been left homeless and ensure that they have clean water to drink, emergency food supplies and shelter. This is what we are all working on right now through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism."
To respond to these most urgent priorities, several Member States are sending material support to the Philippines and the EUCP support this effort through its coordination capacities. Belgium has shipped a medical team and a water purification unit to help address the acute need for clean drinking water. Hungary has committed a search and rescue team and medical doctors to be deployed shortly. The UK and France are sending shelter kits. Sweden provides a base camp with communication equipment to support the international coordination effort. Germany has deployed needs assessment experts. Further in-kind contributions to be delivered via the EUCP are expected within the coming days.
The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), which monitors the situation 24/7 has already deployed an advanced assessment team of two experts to the Philippines. A team of 6-8 civil protection experts will be dispatched within the next few days to coordinate the rescue efforts with the Philippine authorities and humanitarian organisations.
The activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism comes in parallel with Sunday's announcement of the European Commission to make available €3 million of emergency funds available for immediate humanitarian needs. The aid, which is being channeled through humanitarian organisations, is targeting the most acute needs of the population in the worst affected areas.
The tropical cyclone Haiyan (locally named Yolanda), one of the strongest ever recorded, hit the Philippines on 7 and 8 November. Due to its exceptional strength and size, an estimated 10 million people - or over 10% of the Philippine population – are directly affected. The full extent of destruction is still being accessed. The death toll continues to rise and is expected to exceed appalling 10,000 victims. National and international relief efforts are ongoing, but are expected to be further complicated by a new approaching storm.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) was created in 2001 and since then has reacted to more than 180 disasters worldwide. All EU Member States participate in the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism as well as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Haiyan is the 25th typhoon hitting the archipelago this year. Last month the Philippines were hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, which destroyed the homes and livelihoods of around 350,000 people. In 2013 alone, the European Union has provided significant humanitarian assistance to the archipelago: €2.5 million have just been made available for the response to the earthquake in Bohol; for Typhoon Bopha (Pablo), a total of €10 million have been released to help rebuild the communities devastated by the cyclone hit South-Eastern Mindanao in December 2012; following flooding caused by Typhoon Trami (Maring) in August ECHO committed €200 000 to help those affected, and €300 000 were allocated in early October to assist those displaced by the conflict in Zamboanga.
The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:
Commissioner Georgieva's website: