EU supports climate change adaptation in disaster-stricken Samar

SAMAR – As part of their continued commitment,  the European Union and the Philippines Red Cross will officially hand over 2,000 temporary core shelters to families affected by Typhoon Yolanda in Samar today, 22 April. Another 1,000 families were given shelter repair assistance.

In 2013, 22 million people worldwide were displaced by natural disasters – three times as many as war refugees. 4.1 million of them were Filipinos affected by typhoon Yolanda. The number of climate refugees is growing rapidly, making emergency assistance and climate change adaptation crucial.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux took the opportunity of the field visit to Samar to reiterate the need for a comprehensive approach to fight climate change.

“Climate change adaptation should form part of our daily lives as everyone holds a stake in environment protection and disaster risk reduction in the same manner that we must all do our share to cut our emissions”, he said adding that the European Union adopted its climate change targets including a 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030.

The EU has contributed € 30 million or Php 1.8 billion to families hit by Typhoon Yolanda since 2013. Part of this assistance was used by the EU to provide assistance to affected families in Samar. Each shelter was built with the participation of families affected by the typhoon using the cash-for-work strategy. Construction of the houses started in April 2014 until end of December 2014. Community participation was therefore ensured during the construction of the shelters. Each house is built in six days and an agreement is made with the land owners. Each shelter is 18 square meters made of coco lumber and is supported by six posts and a system of floor girders and top beams.

During the turnover ceremony, Ambassador Ledoux commended stakeholders for their resiliency and for their efforts and collaboration to put their lives back to normal.

Ambassador Ledoux was joined by Spanish Red Cross Head Ana Montoya, German Red Cross Head Emilio Tejeira, Finnish Red Cross Head Toni Jokinen, Philippine Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendoloyn Pang and Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon. Local government officials were also present during the meeting and turnover.

In the municipalities of Basey and Marabut (Western Samar) alone, the European Union through its Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) provided Php 155 million worth of shelter assistance to around 15,000 people through the Spanish Red Cross with the German, Finnish and Philippine Red Cross as co-implementing partners. (Eagle News Service/European Union Delegation to the Philippines)