OIC pledges assistance to ‘Yolanda’ victims

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THE Organization of Islamic Cooperation  (OIC) has pledged assistance in any form to thousands of Super Typhoon Yolanda victims in  the Visayas.

A four-member OIC delegation headed by director for Humanitarian Affairs Suleimen Al-Awadi arrived in the country on Tuesday and visited the areas devastated by the super typhoon such as Cebu, Ormoc and Leyte.

Al-Awadi was accompanied by Dr. Zakaria Ahmed, relief coordinator of Islamic Cooperation Humanitarian Affairs, Taher Ahmed Saif, director of Muslim Minorities, and representatives of non-government organizations that are also members of the OIC.

They are the following: Waleed Al Taweel, director of the General Secretary Office of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) of the Muslim World League, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Raed Darwich, who is the media and e-marketing     manager of International Fund-raising Development Division (IFDD) of Islamic Relief Worldwide of United Kingdom.


Other Islamic organizations supporting the Yolanda Fund Drive are Qatar Charity in Doha, Sheikh Eid Charity Organization, Qatar; Al Imdaad Foundation, South Africa; IHH, Turkey; Al Khair Foundation, United Kingdom; Human Appeal, United Arab Emirates; International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO), Kuwait; Islamic Development Bank (IDB); and Islamic Solidarity Fund.

Al-Awadi told The Manila Times that OIC Secretary General Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu wrote President Benigno Aquino 3rd to convey the OIC hierarchy’s words of sympathy for the thousands of victims of typhoon Yolanda and pledged to provide humanitarian assistance to survivors of the calamity.

Al-Awadi said Ihsanoglu has requested non-government organizations to be part of the relief mission.

The IOC members which participated in the mission were Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Turkey and Brunei.

Al Awadi said Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have pledged $10 million each in either cash or in kind.

The OIC delegates were on Thursday to meet both national and local government officials in Tacloban and Ormoc to discuss how the donations would be distributed and to ensure that the donations would reach the beneficiaries.

“Our mission in personally going to these devastated areas is in order for us to assess the extent of the devastations and we want also to meet these typhoon victims and find out from them what they really need,” Al-Awadi explained.

Al-Awadi said that after the ocular mission and assessment, the delegation will make a report to the OIC secretary general, who in turn, will convene the 57-member OIC in Jeddah to decide on what assistance will be given to the typhoon victims.

Waleed Al Taweel, director of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), confirmed the $10-million donation of Saudi Arabia.

“As relief organization, we help people worldwide either Muslims or non-Muslims. We feel sorry for what had happened to our Filipino friends and we will try our best to share what we have to these typhoon victims,” Al Taweel said.

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) headed by Secretary Mehol Sadain facilitated the visit of the OIC delegation.

Sadain tasked NCMF Visayas Regional Director Mike Manonggiring to assist the OIC delegation in their visit to the devastated areas.

Manonggiring estimated that around 291,000 Muslims, mostly Maranao traders who live in the Visayas, were affected by the super typhoon.

He said 15 Muslims residing in Tacloban City were killed during the typhoon while four remain missing.

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