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'SALAMAT PO' | Many countries extend help to Yolanda victims

EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced the release of first tranche of humanitarian assistance of 3 million Euros. (Jhun Dantes/
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MANILA - (UPDATE, 10 a.m., 12 November 2013) As the devastation brought by super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) is revealed to the world, various foreign governments and international agencies have offered condolences, money, warm bodies, expertise, and equipment to help the victims rebuild their lives.

They are, in alphabetical order:

  • As ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh contacted the Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario and informed the latter that he is ready to facilitate ASEAN cooperation and coordination through the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management. In a letter sent to Del Rosario, the ASEAN secretary-general expressed "great concern and sadness" over the devastation wrought by the typhoon.
  • Australia pledged Aus$10 million dollars (US$9.38 million), of which Aus$4 million will go to a United Nations global appeal and Aus$3 million for Australian non-government organizations. The aid will include tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, water containers, and health and hygiene kits."I join my fellow Australians in expressing our deepest sympathies to the people of the Philippines in the wake of the terrible loss of life and damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan," said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Earlier, the country donated almost 400,000 Australian dollars (almost US$375,356) to Philippines for emergency relief supplies, including sleeping mats, mosquito nets, water containers as well as health and hygiene kits to assist those affected by this natural disaster. And three Australian disaster experts are on the ground providing assistance to the Philippine government and the United Nations to conduct a rapid needs assessment in the worst affected areas of the country. A team of Australian medics will leave on Wednesday via a C17 military transport plane from Darwin to join disaster experts already on the ground.
  • Britain offered an emergency support package worth US$9.6 million. UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening said Britain will activate its Rapid Response Facility, which provides emergency support via pre-approved organizations in the event of a humanitarian disaster overseas. The UK Rapid Response Facility support of £5 million to partners on the ground can provide crucial humanitarian aid for up to 500,000 people, including temporary shelter and access to clean water. Urgently-needed shelter items such as plastic sheeting and household items like kitchen sets and blankets will be provided from the UK’s stockpile of humanitarian items. An additional team of four humanitarian experts are also set to join the three advisers already in country helping to coordinate the international response, plus equipment to support them. “My thoughts are with the people of the Philippines, in particular those who have lost loved ones. UK support is now underway. Many thousands of people in remote, hard to reach communities have lost their homes and everything they own. They are living in the open and completely exposed to the elements. The absolute priority must be to reach them with shelter and protection as soon as possible,” Greening said.
  • Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei said he was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and considerable damage resulting from the typhoon. And along with the people of Brunei Darussalam, he would like to extend deepest condolences to the government and people of the Philippines, particularly to the bereaved families of the victims of this disaster.
  • Canada pledged up to US$5 million to humanitarian organizations trying to help survivors in the Philippines.
  • TheRed Cross of China is donating US$100,000 in emergency humanitarian aid to support relief efforts. “We are deeply saddened to learn of the massive destruction. We wish to express our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the victims and the families that have suffered immense loss of lives and properties,” said China’s message given by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. Wang said China is closely monitoring the relief work for assessment of further support.
  • The European Union said it would give three million euros (US$4 million) toward relief efforts. The Ambassador of the European Union Guy Ledoux said EU will stand by the Philippines and provide humanitarian aid to families affected by the super typhoon. "An EU humanitarian aid team is already in the Philippines to assess the impact of the typhoon and find out how the EU can be most helpful to those most urgent needs," he said. The European Commission said it would give US$4 million (three million euros) to help in relief efforts. On Monday, ambassadors of EU member states attended a briefing for visiting EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalg by the EU Humanitarian Office (ECHO) on the damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda and what can be done for affected people and areas. Members of the European Union have already mobilized P600 million worth of humanitarian assistance for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. A total of P170 million from this fund has already been released as the first tranche of the bloc's aid. The EU member-state envoys also announced that cargo planes from their countries have already been deployed to the Philippines. These cargo planes are "carrying tons of relief supplies, rescue teams and a field hospital."
  • Fiji has sent condolences to the government and people of the Philippines in the aftermath of the super typhoon. "I write to express our sympathy and to convey the message of condolences from the people and government of Republic of Fiji to the people and government of the Republic of the Philippines," Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said.
  • Germany's embassy in Manila said an initial shipment of 23 tons of aid was being flown in and German rescue teams were already at work. It also said that a team from the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is on its way to the Philippines to provide assistance in the devastated regions.
  • Japan is sending a 24-member medical team from its Japan Disaster Relief (JDR). Earlier, two personnel from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan International Cooperation Agency arrived in the Philippines on November 10 to assess the damage. Also, two JICA experts joined the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team deployed to the Philippines on November 7 for coordination with international donors. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida extended their sympathies.
  • New Zealand, which chipped in US$124,000 earlier, increased its humanitarian relief, bringing its total to NZ$2.15 million (US$1.78 million), Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said. He said the aid had gone to the Red Cross to help the organization maintain emergency supplies and carry out impact assessments following the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda. "New Zealand will consider further support as the full extent of the damage becomes clear," he said.
  • Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, through the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), has pledged US$100,000, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay. Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago was contacted by AGFUND, a Riyadh-based Arab region development organization which the Prince heads.
  • Singapore will donate 50,000 Singapore dollars (US$ 40,000) through the Singapore Red Cross to support relief efforts in the Philippines. The Singapore Civil Defense Force has dispatched a team to Tacloban City to assist the UN Officer for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities in the rescue efforts. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent condolences to Philippine President Benigno Aquino on the devastation and loss of lives caused by the super typhoon.
  • Taiwan's government pledged immediate cash aid of US$200,000.
  • Turkey is expected to send 90 tons of relief supplies, according to its Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate. As a first step , Turkey will send 1,000 tents, 8,000 blankets, and 1,000 kitchen tools in addition to food aid to the Philippines. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a message to President Aquino, offering his condolences and pledging to deliver support and aid to the disaster-stricken country. Turkey will also send search and rescue teams to the areas where emergency crews are still looking for survivors.
  • His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates initiated a $10-million donation to the Philippines. "The UAE extends its deepest sympathies for the loss of life and property caused by Typhoon Haiyan [Yolanda] in the Philippines," a statement from the UAE government said. "The UAE stands by the people of the Philippines in these tragic circumstances and commends the government of the Philippines and its emergency workers for making all possible efforts in providing aid and relief to the victims," it added. 
  • United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon promised UN humanitarian agencies would "respond rapidly to help people in need." The UN Children's Fund (Unicef) said a cargo plane carrying 60 tons of aid including shelters and medicine would arrive in the Philippines Tuesday, to be followed by deliveries of water purification and sanitation equipment.
  • The United States military is sending personnel and equipment. Some 90 Marines and sailors, and two KC-130J Hercules aircraft, left Japan for the Philippines on Saturday, with equipment including tilt-rotor aircraft which can operate without runways, Marines Colonel John Peck said. "The United States is already providing significant humanitarian assistance, and we stand ready to further assist the government's relief and recovery efforts," US President Barack Obama said in a statement.
  • From the Vatican, Pope Francis led 60,000 people in Sunday prayers for the Philippines, urging the faithful to provide "concrete help" to the largely Roman Catholic country. "Sadly, there are many, many victims and the damage is huge," he said. Pope Francis, "deeply saddened" by the disaster, on Sunday urged Catholics to provide "concrete help" and led 60,000 people in prayers for the Philippines. "Sadly, there are many, many victims and the damage is huge," he said. On Saturday, he had tweeted his sympathy to the Asian nation.
  • Vietnam is donating emergency aid worth US$100,000 and will continue to consider practical support measures within its capacity. Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Sunday extended their sympathy to President Benigno Aquino III.

Non-government organizations are also helping out:

  • Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said it was sending 200 tons of aid including medicine, tents and hygiene kits to arrive mid-week, with the first cargo plane leaving from Dubai on Monday and another from Belgium on Tuesday.
  • Oxfam, the British-based relief organization, said it has sent an assessment team ahead of aid operations.
  • German nongovernment organizations such as World Vision and the International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR) sent emergency response teams and "23 tons of humanitarian aid" consisting of water, food, hygiene and medical kits. These relief goods were brought to the Philippines on Sunday via German airlines Lufthansa. Rescue teams of German relief organizations CARE, Malteser International, and HelpAge, which are all part of the umbrella organization for German humanitarian aid (Buendnis Aktion Deutschland Hilfe) "are already working on the ground in Samar and Leyte." German aid organization ADRA and Johanniter Unfallhilfe "will be deploying more rescue and relief teams" to the Visayas region. ISAR Germany is also sending a medical team composed of 24 doctors and nurses to the hardest-hit regions of the Visayas. The team arrived in the Philippines on Sunday and will bring with them two tons of medical supplies provided by Action Medeor, a German relief organization.They will also be setting up tents, which can accommodate up to 1,000 persons a day. 

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