US, Japan augment aid for post-‘Odette’ recovery

Japan’s donation in Bohol

ON May 21, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant to the Administrator (AA) Sarah Charles announced on behalf of the American people an additional P400 million ($8 million) in assistance to aid the recovery of millions of Filipinos affected by Typhoon Odette (international name Rai).

The amount brings to P1.4 billion ($29.2 million) the total amount of funding the US government has given through USAID to assist the Philippines in responding to the immediate needs of typhoon survivors.

Over the weekend, Charles, who leads USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, also distributed shelter supplies in Barangay Caridad in Pilar, Surigao del Norte. She met with local-government officials, and heard updates from USAID partners on the ground.

“[We continue] to support people most affected by…’Odette,’ the world’s worst cyclone event of 2021,” said the USAID official. “The US is pleased to provide this additional assistance to meet the recovery needs of individuals and families in the areas hardest hit by [the howler]…We will continue to work with our partners in the Philippines and across the region to help communities prepare for such disasters and build greater resilience.”

With the additional assistance, USAID partners will provide emergency maternal- and child-health services, repair damaged health centers, extend protection services for vulnerable persons, support the livelihoods recovery for farmers and fisherfolk, and help households in rebuilding their homes in safe areas.

Since December, USAID and partners Action Against Hunger, Catholic Relief Services, the World Food Programme, and the International Organization for Migration have provided food, emergency cash, water, hygiene supplies, and other relief items to people affected by the typhoon across the southern Philippines, and helped over 8,000 families rebuild their homes.

The US government works year-round to help communities nationwide prepare for, and be extra resilient to natural disasters. Its embassy said it will continue to partner with the Philippines to better respond to natural disasters, and support Filipinos in recovery efforts.

Since 2010 the US, through USAID, has provided more than P17 billion ($351 million) in disaster-relief and recovery aid, as well as boosted the disaster-risk reduction capacity of more than 100 cities and municipalities in the Philippines.

Japan ensures food security

MEANWHILE, on May 17 in Balilihan, Bohol, Minister Masahiro Nakata attended the official turnover of 3,333 bags of rice donation from Japan to families affected by ”Odette,” under the framework of the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR).

Also present were Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Felicisimo Budiongan, National Food Authority Administrator (NFA) Judy Carol Dansal, APTERR Secretariat General Manager Choomjet Karnjanakesorn and Department of Agriculture-Region VII Director Joel Elumba. Governor Arthur Yap of Bohol received the rice donation on behalf of the affected families.

At the ceremony Nakata cited that Japan remains as the biggest contributor of APTERR rice in the Philippines. He expressed pleasure to witness firsthand the rice distribution, and hoped it will be a source of revitalization to affected families.

Nakata affirmed that his country looks forward to adding more fruitful endeavors to the Japan-APTERR-NFA partnership’s long list of achievements: “Together, we will overcome any challenge and rise above each storm to attain regional food security.”

APTERR is a regional cooperation started in 2012 to strengthen food security, poverty alleviation and malnourishment eradication among its member-countries. In the Philippines, several thousand tons of stockpiled rice from Japan under APTERR were distributed to thousands of victims of recent strong typhoons.

 In 2020 Japan also provided 425 metric tons of rice to communities affected by the Taal Volcano eruption. Last year 2 metric tons of precooked rice were distributed to families affected by Covid-19 in Quezon City and the City of Manila, as well as select parts of Bulacan and Cavite under APTERR.

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