On December 19, the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), handed over 167 transitional shelters to benefit over 900 persons displaced by Tropical Storm Agaton in the municipality of Abuyog and the city of Baybay in Leyte.
USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission Tristan Burnett led the handover ceremony in Baybay City in the presence of Abuyog Vice Mayor Lemuel Gin K. Traya and Baybay City Councilor Romulo Alcala. Abuyog and Baybay were among the areas most heavily affected by Tropical Storm Agaton in April, resulting in more than 187 casualties and the loss of homes and livelihoods of over 16,700 families.
“Recognizing the close family ties and the strong bonds within communities, my wish this holiday season is that these shelters will bring your family and communities together again in a safer environment,” said USAID Mission Director Washburn. “The United States is proud to stand with you and your communities to rebuild and recover from the devastating loss caused by this storm.”
As part of the U.S. government’s continuing commitment to support the Philippine government’s relief and recovery efforts in areas affected by Tropical Storm Agaton, USAID partnered with IOM to assist more than 12,000 people by improving access to safer living spaces, working with the local authorities to identify relocation sites, providing flexible shelter packages, and train households on building better techniques. The U.S. government also supported the repair of water systems and sanitation facilities and the distribution of hygiene supplies and water treatment devices to the most vulnerable households.
To date, USAID’s typhoon assistance to the Philippines amounts to more than Php 1.6 billion ($29 million), making the U.S. government the largest humanitarian donor in the country. Through this funding from the American people, USAID has provided critical shelter assistance, increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, restored agricultural livelihoods, ensured essential sexual and reproductive health services, and provided protection programs for women and children.
In addition, USAID works year-round to help communities in the Philippines prepare for and increase resilience to recover from natural disasters.