Foreign donations pour in for "Ondoy" victims

September 29, 2009 9:52 pm 

MANILA, Sept. 30 — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo met with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other officials of the United Nations on Tuesday morning (Manila time) to convey President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s appeal for international humanitarian assistance in the wake of the massive devastation wreaked by tropical storm "Ondoy" over the weekend.

Romulo met with Secretary General Ban and Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes at the UN Headquarters.

The President issued her appeal for international assistance through Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Jr., chair of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

“We are heartened by the assurances given by the Secretary General and the Undersecretary General that the United Nations will take positive action on our request for assistance,” said Romulo.

He was accompanied in the meeting by Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and Ambassador Libran Cabactulan.

More than 250 people perished in the floods that also displaced more than 500,000 people in Metro Manila and 25 other provinces.

Ban said the U.N. is considering issuing a flash appeal for emergency assistance from both member states and non-government organizations.

In an earlier meeting with Romulo, Holmes, who also heads the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), said his agency is ready to coordinate international humanitarian assistance and is looking into the possibility of utilizing the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) —a humanitarian fund established by the UN, to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts.

Holmes had informed Romulo that OCHA personnel are assisting in relief operations in Manila and that additional personnel based in Bangkok are on their way to the Philippines to assess the situation and give recommendations on the kind of assistance that is required. He also expressed concern over a weather disturbance approaching the country.

Teodoro made initial coordination with the UN Resident Coordinator in Manila for assistance not only for the victims of typhoon "Ondoy" but also in anticipation of the possible severe effects of another weather disturbance that is approaching the country.

Teodoro said the Philippines is in need of emergency supplies, generators, food and drinking water.

The last time the U.N. coordinated international assistance for the Philippines was when typhoons "Milenyo", "Reming" and "Senyang" devastated the Bicol Region in 2007.

Condolences were also received from Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan MP.

The Australian government will provide P40 million for victims.

“Australia's contribution will help with the relief operations of both the Philippine government and the Philippine National Red Cross, including providing emergency supplies of drinking water, food, clothing, hygiene kits and related essential items,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith said.

"Australia stands ready to offer further assistance if additional needs are identified by the Philippine government," said Smith.

Romulo has also instructed all Philippine embassies and consulates general to facilitate the immediate processing of donations and assistance from the international community, including overseas Filipino community groups for the victims of "Ondoy.

The embassy in Washington sent USD50,000 for the relief efforts.

China pitched in with a total USD140,000–USD110,000 from the Chinese government and another USD30,000 from the private Philippine office of the Shenzhen-headquartered Huawei Technologies Philippines, Inc., Chinese telecommunications solutions provider.

HTPI President Yang Hua presented the company's donation to Vice President Noli De Castro during a reception on Monday marking the 60th founding anniversary of China

Singapore raised USD30,000 and a further USD20,000 in a donations drive by the Singapore Red Cross.

An additional USD50,000 from the US Agency for International Development raised USAID's total donation to USD100,000.

US Navy personnel are assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines with search and rescue efforts in Cainta and Pasig, DFA said.

The Japanese government said it would send USD220,000 worth of relief goods, even as Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuyo Okada expressed his “heartfelt sympathy” for the loss of life and serious damage to infrastructure in Metro Manila and other regions.

The UN World Health Organization earlier announced a USD42,000 relief fund.

The officers and staff of the Embassy of Canada in Manila raised funds among themselves and friends and donated USD50,000 for the victims of the tropical storm.(PNA) LDV/GJB


One Response to “Foreign donations pour in for "Ondoy" victims”

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