Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop on Thursday announced that the Australian government will provide P33 million in emergency relief supplies to assist communities and families affected by Typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu).
“Australia, as a close friend of the Philippines, is saddened by the loss of life and damage to homes and property in the wake of this tragedy,” Bishop said in a statement.
“I commend the government of the Philippines for its leadership and preparedness measures, and for quickly mobilizing its domestic resources to support affected communities and provide timely assistance,” she added.
The Philippines, Bishop said, can expect continued support from Australia.
“We will work closely with the Philippine government and partners to support the typhoon relief efforts as required,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said.
Australia would release prepositioned in-country stores with the United Nations Population Fund, World Food Program and the Philippine Red Cross to affected communities.
These include dignity kits containing malong cloth, bath towels, slippers, combs, nail clippers, maternity napkins, underwear, bath soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, laundry bar and toilet paper; family kits containing sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets and tarpaulins as emergency shelter; and rice supplies and high-energy biscuits.
France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development also on Thursday promised to assist the victims of Typhoon Lando that caused widespread destruction in communities in northeastern Luzon over the weekend.
In a statement, France assured solidarity with Filipinos and the Philippine government after the archipelago was struck by Lando over the weekend.
“We extend our condolences to the families of the victims,” the statement said.
“We stand together with the Philippine government as we express our readiness to give favorable consideration to any request for assistance,” it added.
More than 65,000 people have been evacuated because of the typhoon.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) also gave P4-million worth of relief items including sleeping kits (blankets, plastic mats and mosquito nets), hygiene kits, tarpaulins and jerry cans to the provinces of Aurora, Cagayan and Isabela.
At the height of the typhoon, PRC personnel and volunteers rescued 728 people, mostly from flooded homes in Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Zambales and Bulacan.
The PRC also assisted 255 people in Baguio City and Nueva Ecija, transported three patients to hospitals and gave first-aid treatment to two persons.
Its chapters in northern, central and parts of southern Luzon, as well as in Metro Manila, are coordinating with local government units in sustaining
rescue operations and providing hot meals in areas that were severely affected by the typhoon, PRC chairman Richard Gordon said.
As of Thursday, October 22, a total of 3,742 food packs were distributed in Quirino and Tarlac and 4,419 pieces of bread were given to affected people in La Union, Pangasinan and Bulacan.
Hot meals were given to a total of 8,871 people in evacuation centers in affected areas.
A total of 394 PRC personnel were mobilized during the Typhoon Lando operations: 42 staff, 273 volunteers and 79 water search and rescue teams from the national headquarters, Cavite, Laguna, Subic, Olongapo, Rizal and Bulacan.
PRC operations teams are working in Calumpit, Bulacan, where there is still flooding; in Concepcion and Camiling, Tarlac, for relief distribution; and in Pangasinan and Zambales for assessment, rescue and assistance to affected families.
“Our work continues in typhoon-affected areas, as such we are calling for more volunteers to assist us in providing relief, as well as in our on-going rescue operations. In disasters like this, we must all come together to help those who are most vulnerable to alleviate their suffering,” Gordon said.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON AND NEIL A. ALCOBER