THE UNITED States government has donated an additional P17.5 million to support recovery efforts for the ecosystem and communities in areas heavily affected by typhoon Odette, internationally known as Rai, which struck southern and central parts of the Philippines in mid-December.   

“This additional assistance will support local organizations in assessing the extent of damage to ecosystems and wildlife habitats, enhancing their resilience and recovery, and provide assistance to farmers, fisherfolk, and indigenous peoples whose livelihoods were destroyed by the typhoon,” the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement on Tuesday.  

American government aid for Odette response and recovery now totals P1.1 billion, it said.   

Seven civil society organizations in Siargao Island, Dinagat Islands, Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Southern Leyte, and mainland Caraga will be given P2.5 million each to implement projects to mitigate long-term damage and environment risks.  

The goal is to rehabilitate coastal and terrestrial ecosystems, support disaster risk reduction and management initiatives, rebuild livelihoods through biodiversity-friendly enterprises, and provide incentives for local communities helping with the rehabilitation.  

Meanwhile, China has donated over P10 million to provide assistance to those affected by tropical storm Agaton, internationally known as Megi, which hit the country last week.  

“We wish all those affected could overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date,” Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said in a Facebook post on Monday.  

The Philippines, which sits within the typhoon belt in the western Pacific Ocean, gets an average of 20 storms every year. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan