EU brings relief to victims of PH dengue outbreak

A hospital tent ward for dengue patients is set up in the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of IFRC)

In response to the ongoing dengue outbreak in the Philippines, the European Union (EU) is providing €100 000 EUR (P5.689 million) in humanitarian aid funding to assist the most affected communities. The aid will directly and indirectly benefit 300 000 people in some of the hardest hit areas in the regions of Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Metropolitan Manila, and Western Visayas.

This EU-funding supports the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in delivering crucial assistance through the strengthening of public health services, such as the establishment of dengue emergency medical units or hospital extension wards at local government hospitals, and the provision of nursing staff to respond to overwhelming dengue cases. In addition, water sources, which can be mosquito breeding grounds, will be cleaned and treated with a biological control agent to eliminate mosquito larvae. The funding also focuses on enhancing public awareness through health promotion activities and information dissemination to prevent and reduce new cases.

The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Since the beginning of 2019, the Philippines has seen a drastic increase in the number of dengue cases nationwide. According to the latest data from the government, close to 116 000 cases, including 491 deaths, have been reported during the first six months. This marks an increase of 86 per cent compared to the same period last year, when 57 564 cases were reported. So far, the central Western Visayas region has been the worst hit area where nearly 16 000 cases have been registered. Following the sharp surge, the Philippine Department of Health declared a national dengue alert on 15 July in an effort to step up its surveillance and response to the mosquito-borne disease. As the archipelago island now experiences its annual monsoon season, when peak transmission typically occurs, the European Union’s humanitarian experts continue to closely monitor the situation.

The European Union together with its Member States is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the European Union helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO’s website.

The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million. (Press Release)


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