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Australia's $5-M Aid In Response To Typhoon Bopha Disaster

4 Jan 2013

Australia responds to typhoon disaster in the Philippines 

Australia is providing up to $5 million in humanitarian support for people affected by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines.

This will include emergency family survival kits containing sleeping mats, mosquito nets and water containers through the Philippine Red Cross and 1,000 tonnes of rice from the World Food Programme for families left homeless. The United Nations Population Fund will also make available health and hygiene items.

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Above and top: Typhoon Bopha damage in one of the worst-hit provinces in southern Philippines, Davao Oriental. Photos: Luisa Carvalho, UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines. 

Typhoon Bopha struck the island of Mindanao on Tuesday, December 4, with torrential rains and winds up to 250 kilometres an hour. The Philippine Government reports that more than five million people have been affected and hundreds killed by flooding and damage.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the typhoon had created a humanitarian crisis deserving an immediate international response.

Australia will provide $2 million for emergency family survival kits, rice and health and hygiene items.

Australia will also make available a further $3 million, of which up to $2 million will be delivered through Australian NGOs for additional relief and recovery needs.

AusAID Canberra has also deployed a member of its rapid response team to Manila to assist.

Typhoon Bopha was almost three times stronger than Tropical Storm Washi which crossed northern and central Mindanao in December 2011. Tropical Storm Washi claimed almost 1,500 lives, affected about a million people and damaged $116 million worth of agriculture and infrastructure.

Australia provided $7.8 million in humanitarian response to victims of Tropical Storm Washi, many of whom are still recovering from that disaster. 

Australia is providing 1,000 tonnes of rice through the World Food Programme for families left homeless by Typhoon Bopha. Photo: Marilou Cezar/ World Food Programme 

About half of Australia’s bilateral aid program has been spent in Mindanao in recent years to improve access to basic education and help provincial governments upgrade and maintain their core road network.

The Philippines is highly vulnerable to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change because it sits in the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ and the typhoon belt of the western north Pacific basin. It experiences an annual average of 20 tropical cyclones, of which five to seven are severely destructive.

Damage from natural disasters has the most impact on people living in poverty because they are more exposed and have less capacity to recover. Australia is working with the Philippines Government to ensure people living in poverty become more resilient to the impacts of natural disasters. 

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