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Close Bilateral Cooperation Before, During and After Typhoon Ruby/Hagupit Enables Faster U.S. Government Emergency Response

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Manila, December 11, 2014 – The United States Embassy in Manila commends the Government of the Philippines on its extensive preparations leading up to Typhoon Ruby/Hagupit and its successful response in the wake of the storm. The United States also offers its condolences for the lives that were lost during the storm. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.

In close coordination with the Government of the Philippines, the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development’s Office for Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), will provide aid for emergency humanitarian assistance. This assistance totals $750,000 (PHP 33,408,750).

Building on a foundation of close bilateral coordination and cooperation with the Government of the Philippines, the U.S. Embassy in Manila helped track the typhoon before it made landfall, worked under the direction of our treaty ally in monitoring the storm’s trajectory and planning and preparing to respond to the storm’s aftermath as needed.

Almost immediately following the storm’s first landfall, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Pacific Command assessment teams were available to augment U.S.  Embassy Manila’s capabilities to monitor the storm’s impact. These teams also coordinated with government agencies and humanitarian organizations an emergency response on the ground. As President Obama stated last year in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda, “[W]hen our friends are in trouble, America helps.”

The successful response to Ruby featured close cooperation between representatives from USAID, the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the U.S. military, who worked with the Philippine government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct initial assessments of conditions and needs in the hardest hit areas. U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg stated that this coordination “clearly showed that the repeated humanitarian and disaster assistance training and exercises between our two countries is an important part of our relationship.”

The U.S government, through USAID, continues to work closely with the Government of the Philippines and communities in hazard-prone areas to better prepare for and respond to the effects of disasters. In Fiscal Year 2014, USAID/OFDA provided approximately $9.5 million (PHP 423,177,500) for disaster risk reduction programs in the Philippines that build community resilience and further strengthen national disaster management capacity. This includes $500,000 (PHP 22,272,500) in FY 2014 funding to the U.N. World Food Program to provide logistical support to the GPH’s Department of Social Welfare and Development to quickly deliver relief supplies to affected families during disasters such as Typhoon Ruby.