RP Red Cross to aid victims of Myanmar cyclone
The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) will join international agencies in providing emergency aid to cyclone-stricken Myanmar, its chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, said Thursday.
As a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the PNRC is committed to helping other countries in need of emergency assistance, said Gordon.
He said the PNRC has been “actively providing assistance not just in the Philippines but also to other countries struck by disasters and we are now rising to the call to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable."
"We are shocked and saddened with the news of the tragic devastation wrought by a cyclone," Gordon said.
Myanmar's state media said Cyclone Nargis has killed at least 22,980 people and left 42,119 missing, but only a handful of UN aid workers had so far been allowed into the impoverished Southeast Asian country, which the government has kept isolated for five decades to maintain its iron-fisted control.
International assistance began trickling in Wednesday with the first shipments of medicine, clothing and food. But the junta, which normally restricts access by foreign officials and groups, was slow to give permission for workers to enter.
The PNRC started to become a donor society when it sent $85,000 in emergency aid to the victims of the Asian tsunami in December 2004, said Gordon.
It also sent a $10,000 donation to victims of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the US Gulf Coast in September 2005, he said.
In October 2005, the PNRC dispatched a three-man team to Pakistan to lead the Southeast Asian Regional Delegation, which helped victims of a devastating tremor.
RP Red Cross to aid victims of Myanmar cyclone -- Gordon
Kathleen Martin, contributor; with The Associated Press