"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, December 03, 2006

‘RP plea for int’l aid crucial to Reming victims’

AN APPEAL from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the international community for assistance would “greatly facilitate the flow of humanitarian assistance to the thousands of affected families” by typhoon “Reming” (international codename: Durian), a senator said Saturday.

“I am going to impress upon the President the significance of letting the world know about the destruction left behind by the super typhoon,” Senator Richard Gordon, who is also chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said in an article posted on the PNRC Web site. “And that we will welcome wholeheartedly any assistance that can be given in this hour of great need.”

“Sending the message across to foreign benefactors that the Philippines is in need of, and welcomes, relief and recovery assistance will be a positive step toward mobilizing the foreign community’s resources to extend help,” Gordon said.

Less than 36 hours after Reming hit the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions, the International Federation of Red Cross [and] Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) gave an “initial quick response emergency assistance” of 100,000 Swiss Francs (about P4 million) from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), IFRC head of delegation to the Philippines Roger Bracke was quoted by the article as saying.

Another 40,000 euro (about P2.644 million) has also been pledged by the Netherlands while a planeload of relief supplies is being readied to be flown into the country by the Spanish agency Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (AECI).

Pledges of assistance have also been received from the New Zealand government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Gordon said the PNRC’s mission was not only to save but also to “improve lives.”
“We will always come to the aid of the most vulnerable in our communities, but in a way that helps them get back on their feet with their self-reliance and human dignity intact,” Gordon said even as he pointed out that the PNRC “has had to struggle with disrupted communications during the first few hours after the passage of the typhoon.”

The PNRC placed the initial tally of affected families at 50,000 or a “running total” of 150,000 individuals.

The latest official death toll from the mudflows that rushed down the slopes of Mayon Volcano in Albay has reached more than 200 as of Friday morning.