The Philippines usually tops the list as one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters mainly caused by typhoons and tropical storms, and also by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions (in 2012 and 2013 it ranked first in loss of life caused by natural disasters worldwide), thus making it one of the main recipients of Humanitarian Action of the Spanish Aid.
Spain was the top bilateral donor in response to the effects of Tropical Storm Sendong in December 2011 with a grant contribution of €1,410,000, and was once again recognized amongst the top donors after Typhoon Bopha in December 2012, with donations amounting to €1,840,000. President Aquino himself thanked our collaboration on this occasion. Also, Spain was an important donor during the emergency response to the devastating effects of the super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, with a total contribution amounting to €3,370,000 or €18 million including Spanish private donations.
Aside from emergency aid during natural disasters, Spain implemented various comprehensive programs in disaster preparedness and response in the Province of Albay (Bicol Region), wherein the capabilities of local authorities have been strengthened in disaster risk reduction management. Albay is one of the most vulnerable areas of the country with recurrence of typhoons and volcanic eruptions of Mayon, which made it one of the provinces that can better manage such emergencies, thanks to the strengthening of capacities developed through projects of the Spanish Aid. Through the humanitarian and emergency aid, several public schools have been rehabilitated to serve as evacuation centers and equipped with basic facilities (electric generator, stoves, water tanks, etc.)
The Josefina Duran Hospital in Ligao is created as a hospital of reference in terms of emergencies, and the Provincial Office of Albay has been equipped with emergency and communications vehicle, mobile water treatment and search and rescue equipment. Albay is now considered as a model province in this field. As part of a complete program for natural disaster preparedness, the Spanish Aid has contributed to the Philippine Government with emergency kits in Clark Air Base, which is hoped to be replicated in other parts of the country.
Additional humanitarian aid has been provided through the UN System, in close coordination with OCHA, especially through UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP. Through these actions we are contributing to improve the living conditions of internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups in conflict and natural disasters-affected areas in the country.