U.S. sends support to Philippines after volcano eruption

Following the Taal volcano’s eruption in the Philippines this month, the U.S. Agency for International Development has provided $100,000 in humanitarian assistance to support the Philippines’ response.

The funding covers relief supplies — including soap, toothbrushes, sleeping mats and blankets — for 7,600 displaced people staying at evacuation centers in the Batangas province, where the disaster occurred. The assistance supports distribution of the supplies by USAID partner World Vision.

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim announced the aid at the Nasugbu West Central School evacuation center in Batangas, one of roughly 420 places set up for displaced locals.

“I’m inspired by the strength and resilience of these families who faced such devastation and loss following the volcanic eruption,” Kim said at the school January 22. “As friends, partners and allies to the Philippines, we will continue to support our Philippine government counterparts as they work to address the needs of those communities most affected by the eruption.”

Beyond the aid, the United States is also supplying remote technical support and an infrared camera to help the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology monitor the volcano.

This assistance complements ongoing efforts by additional USAID partners that include shuttling emergency supplies to displaced individuals and offering technical assistance to manage evacuation centers.

Overhead view of people in indoor roofless tents (© Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents affected by the eruption of the Taal volcano gather at an evacuation center in Tagaytay City in the Philippines’ Cavite province on January 17. (© Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, another USAID partner, is helping coordinate donations and assistance from the private sector. Kim recently joined the foundation’s partners in distributing supplies to displaced people in Calatagan.

At the same time, USAID disaster experts in the Philippines and the region are monitoring the impact of the eruption, working with humanitarian agencies there and local authorities who are leading the emergency response.

Taal, the second most active volcano in the Philippines, began erupting January 12, spewing lava, ash, smoke and gas. Taal has erupted 33 times since 1572. Its last eruption was in October 1977.

The United States stands with its longtime ally in the wake of this disaster and is committed to supporting its friends in the Philippines.