Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Asean pitches in to help typhoon-ravaged areas

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has sent food, blankets, mattresses, mosquito nets and generators to the storm-devastated areas in Eastern Mindanao following an appeal from the United Nations for a P65-million global humanitarian aid for the storm victims.

Typhoon Pablo, packing 200-kilometers-per-hour winds, slammed into Mindanao on Tuesday last week, devastating Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental and killing 714 people while dislocating hundreds of thousands. A total of 890 others are still missing.

Said Faisal, executive director of the Asean Humanitarian Assistance Center based in Jakarta, said the relief sent by the Asean included ready-to-eat food for the typhoon victims, many of whom were hungry and homeless.

“We express our deepest condolences to the people of the government of the Philippines,” Faisal said.

“We will do our best to mobilize resources to the people of the Philippines, doing our activities here in close coordination with the United Nations.”

Faisal, who visited the ravaged towns of Boston and Cateel, said he saw the need to rebuild the lives of the people there.

“During our visit, we recognized that very soon there would be a need for livelihood assistance,” he said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said the government’s key shelter agencies had donated P3.6 million to buy relief for Pablo’s  victims. Those included Home Guaranty Corp. (P1.3 million), Home Development Mutual Fund (P1.2 million), the National Housing Authority (P500,000), Social Housing Finance Corp. (P500,000), and National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (P100,000).

Philex Mining Corp. on Tuesday said it had sent a 12-member rescue team composed of miners to Compostela Valley to help look for the missing.

The city government of Baguio and the provincial government of Benguet donated P700,000 to the typhoon victims.

The leadership of the National Police canceled the police force’s Christmas party to sympathize with the typhoon victims.

“Instead of celebrating, we offer prayers to the victims of typhoon Pablo,” National Police chief Nicanor Bartolome said.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman on Tuesday said the government had been spending P3 million on food every day to send to the 80,000 families or 400,000 people in the typhoon-ravaged areas.

She said impassable roads and broken bridges had been hampering the delivery of food and water to the isolated areas in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

“There are many bridges that can’t accommodate the heavy trucks, so we transfer the relief to the small trucks,” Soliman said.

“There are still three towns that can’t be reached by vehicles, so what we do is send supplies by boat.”

The Agriculture Department on Tuesday said the damage to the farm sector in Mindanao had reached P10.3 billion, with the damage to the banana sector reaching P6.43 billion and the damage to the corn sector reaching P955.33 million.

An ally of President Benigno III on Tuesday said the government must put in place a comprehensive national disaster prevention and response blueprint to ease the effects of climate change.

“We can start by institutionalizing environment protection through education,” Rep. Teodoro Haresco said.

“Our people must understand that environment degradation is the shortest way to tragedy.”

The United Nations on Monday made a flash global appeal for $65 million in humanitarian aid for the people devastated by Typhoon Pablo—international name Bopha—in the Visayas and Mindanao after confirming the grim situation in the disaster areas.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Luiza Carvalho said the Bopha Action Plan for Recovery outlined how the humanitarian community would deliver assistance to the survivors.-Manila Standard Today (December 12, 2012 12:01AM)

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