Western Union and the Western Union Foundation have announced a package of relief efforts for the Philippines following the Taal Volcano and Typhoon Phanfone (Ursula). The aid will be directed to International Medical Corps to support relief efforts and disaster preparedness training in the Philippines.
On January 12, the Taal Volcano erupted, resulting in a Level 4 alert, warning that a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days. More than 200 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded in the region since Sunday. Nearly 460,000 people reside within the danger zone.
The eruption came as Filipinos were still reeling from Typhoon Phanfone, which made landfall in Eastern Samar of the Eastern Visayas region at 4:45 p.m. local time on December 24. A Category 2 typhoon, Phanfone affected more than 2.8 million people and displaced more than 145,000. Heavy rains and strong winds damaged more than 400,000 homes and 30 health facilities, and brought sustained flooding and power outages in more remote and rural areas.
As the Western Union Foundation’s 2020 Disaster Relief Preparedness Partner, International Medical Corps will receive a grant focused on preparedness training for local frontline health workers, officials and community members in the Philippines through its ‘Building Resilient Communities in the Philippines’ program.
“The Western Union Foundation is committed to assisting the Philippines before and after disasters strike,” said Elizabeth Roscoe, Western Union Foundation Executive Director and Western Union Head of Corporate Brand & Purpose. “We are proud to partner with International Medical Corps to address disaster preparedness in 2020, and deeply appreciate its hard work and dedication to helping the people of the Philippines rebuild their lives in the wake of Typhoon Phanfone and with the uncertainty around the Taal Volcano.”
International Medical Corps’ team has deployed to assess the impact of Typhoon Phanfone in some of the most heavily affected areas, including Western and Eastern Samar, and Biliran of the Eastern Visayas. The team is focusing on addressing gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as providing relief supplies to typhoon-affected women, men and children.
The ‘Building Resilient Communities in the Philippines’ program will include:
- Hazard, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop: Identifying vulnerabilities and hazards impacting the community, developing responsive risk mitigation planning, including the use of rapid digital communications tools
- Basic Life Support and First Aid Training: Utilizing the Philippines Department of Health curriculum to provide first responder skills training to help stabilize individuals facing injury
“The Western Union Foundation’s commitment to disaster preparedness and relief is critical for International Medical Corps to reach the families most in need in the Philippines. It will not only help our teams address the humanitarian needs following Typhoon Phanfone, but also will build resilience in the face of future emergencies through training,” said Nancy Aossey, International Medical Corps President and CEO.
International Medical Corps works to relieve suffering of those affected by war, natural disaster and disease by delivering vital healthcare and related services, and by focusing on training that helps devastated populations return to self-reliance.