• US sends $20 million relief aid


    Donations from other countries kept pouring in as the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) announced an additional humanitarian assistance worth $20 million while the United Nations released an initial $25 million from the world body’s emergency fund in quick response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered his condolences to those who suffered. He related this information to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

    In a statement, the Usaid said the funding included emergency food aid and critical relief supplies such as shelter materials and hygiene kits for disaster-affected areas.

    The US government has earlier initialed $100,000 worth of aid for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, believed to be the strongest recorded storm in recent history.

    “Although the toll of destruction is not yet clear, we know that millions of people have been affected, including thousands of people who have lost their lives, homes, or livelihoods,” the Usaid said in a statement.

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Philippines and the humanitarian teams that are working around the clock to save lives.”

    According to the agency, the supplies will not only provide life-saving care in the aftermath of the storm, “but will also help prevent illness and death from waterborne and communicable diseases.”

    A shipment has already been deployed with plastic sheeting, soap, toothbrushes, toilet paper and sanitary supplies to help 10,000 families.

    “Another shipment of the same size will follow closely behind.”

    Earlier, the Usaid has already shipped 55 metric tons of food, including highly nutritious bars and paste—containing a day’s worth of calories—which will nourish approximately 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for roughly four to five days.

    The Usaid prepositioned Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was also one of the first to arrive in Leyte province ahead of other international government assessment teams.

    The US government promised to work tirelessly with their partners in the Philippines and across the world to reach those in need and support their recovery.

    “We remain committed to ensuring that our assistance not only saves lives today, but reduces the risk of disaster tomorrow. Together, we will help strengthen the resilience of local communities that continue to inspire us with their spirit and courage.”

    John Ging, the director of the operation division for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement that the funds were released from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

    The fund “will enable humanitarian agencies to mobilize their response quickly.”

    “The devastation has been huge . . . all of our efforts are on mobilizing very quickly and on responding on an equally massive scale,” Ging said in the statement.

    Valerie Amos, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, will arrived in the country today to launch a flash appeal for the country.

    “We are very much in support and we are focused, first and foremost, on the requirements for food, shelter support and medical support, to prevent the outbreak of public health disasters,” Ging said.

    The burial of the bodies that perished in the deluge must also be prioritized, he added.

    The CERF funding will be used to provide emergency food assistance, supply emergency shelter materials and household items. It will also assist with the provision of emergency health services, safe water supplies and sanitation facilities for the affected people.

    Part of the funding will be geared towards critical protection, nutrition and emergency activities, camp coordination and management and logistics “to enable a coordinated rapid relief response.” BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON


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