Australia has provided a total of AUD1 million (Php 36 million) in aid as response to the powerful typhoons that recently hit the country and is committed to doing more, Australia’s Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said on Tuesday.
“This is not really the amount but the principle that when the Philippines is in difficulty Australia will standby with the Philippines,” Robinson told reporters at the sidelines of the launching of the Macquarie Investing in Women RISE Fund.
As soon as Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni) made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 1, 2020, Robinson said the Australian government immediately ordered the release of some Php 6.5 million worth of prepositioned relief assistance composed of shelter kits for the families whose houses were lost or damaged, hygiene kits specifically for women, and educational kits for kids and students displaced by the disaster.
The Australian envoy also made an ocular visit in Albay along with the United Nations resident representative to the Philippines, to personally see the extent of Typhoon Rolly’s damages.
“I’ve never seen a typhoon hit before. It was really heart-wrenching, everything was blown away,” said Robinson who also spent the time talking to the affected people in evacuation centers in Albay.
Australia is not new in coordinating with the Philippines when it comes to disaster response. Since 2006, it has responded with dispatch to at least 21 different disasters and has made arrangements with the Philippine government to preposition some of its assets to key strategic areas in the country.
Robinson said a humanitarian team is on standby at their embassy that works tirelessly “as soon as we know that there is something to hit the Philippines.”
They start to work and they reach out. They understand where the problem is likely to occur. They go to locality and then they prepare a report so that Australia can respond, and then we get approvals from Australia virtually and instantaneously,” he said.
The envoy explained that the system of prepositioned supplies has been “terrific,” an arrangement they have established with the Philippines and the Philippine Red Cross with the assistance of the UN office in Manila.
“It’s a very good process to try and get the aid where it is needed as quickly as we can,” he said.