EU brings relief to Batanes earthquake victims

EU brings relief to Batanes earthquake victims
From left: Batanes Philippine Red Cross establishing TLS to earthquake victims and a house damged by earthquake Photos courtesy of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)


In response to a series of powerful earthquakes and aftershocks that hit northern Philippines in late July, the European Union is providing €90 000 in humanitarian funding to address the urgent needs of the most affected families.

The aid will directly benefit 1,000 people in some of the heavily hit areas in the remote island of Itbaya, Batanes province. 

This EU funding supports the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in delivering much-needed humanitarian assistance through the provision of emergency relief items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, and temporary latrines.

The aid will also ensure access to clean water, good hygiene practices and psychological support to the affected communities.

Moreover, cash grants will be distributed to enable displaced people to meet their immediate household and food needs following the disruptions of livelihoods caused by the earthquakes.

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

Almost 3,000 people — the entire population of the northernmost island of Itbayat – were displaced when three strong earthquakes of 5.4, 5.9, and 5.8 magnitudes successively struck near the town at shallow depths in the early hours of July 27. The tremors, followed by at least 13 aftershocks, caused devastating damage to a number of structures.

According to data from the government, 290 houses have sustained damaged, over 85 per cent of which have completely been destroyed as of 10 August. In addition, local health facilities and water distribution systems have also been impacted, hampering access medical services and safe water resources amongst the quake-hit populations.

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.

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