Cash donation best way to help Yolanda survivors
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Cash donations to reputable relief and charitable organizations is the best way to help the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, according to an official of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

During a briefing on the US response to Yolanda victims at the Northeastern Illinois University on Nov. 23, USAID assistant administrator Nancy Lindborg said cash donations to reputable organizations working in disaster zones “reach the victims faster and is more efficient.”

“Institutions that receive these donations already have people on the ground who are more familiar with the immediate needs of the victims,” she said.

Lindborg said the rehabilitation and reconstruction of affected areas would take several months and is a “crucial time” for the Philippines.

US Senator Dick Durbin, Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim of the Philippine consulate in Chicago and members of the Filipino-American community attended the briefing.

Responding to questions from the audience, Lindborg said the website of USAID lists several reputable organizations that people can direct their monetary donations to US lawmakers also assured the Philippines of their support in the rehabilitation of Yolanda-ravaged areas.

The Philippine embassy in Washington said the assurance was given to Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. during a briefing on typhoon relief efforts for members of the US-Philippines Friendship Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus in the US House of Representatives last week.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Valerie Amos said emergency aid appeal for Yolanda victims is expected to further increase with the review of the appeal next month.

The UN had increased its emergency aid appeal by nearly 16 percent or $348 million from the original $301 million last week as the death toll rose to over 5,000.

Long-term assistance

France assured the country of long-term assistance, including the rehabilitation and reconstruction of affected areas.

French Ambassador Gilles Garachon said France will send experts to assist not only in the reconstruction of damaged houses and schools in Cebu and Leyte, but to share the technology that would ensure that such infrastructure are more resistant to strong winds and earthquakes.

“We want to let the Filipinos know that we are on your side always,” he said.

Garachon visited Leyte and Cebu last week and met with local officials and residents of Talisay City in Cebu and Palo town in Leyte.

“The scale of the devastation was absolutely huge. The magnitude was just unbelievable unless you see it from the sky and you talk to the people,” he said.

Citing his conversation with a barangay official in Talisay, Garachon said the national government and local authorities “have been impressive.”

“You have to take into account the magnitude of the catastrophe. I think no country in the world could face such a catastrophe alone,” he said.

“We really have to work together to help the victims of the typhoon. France has been fully mobilized to take part in this effort,” he added.

Talisay and Palo towns were recipients of 70 tons of emergency relief items from the French government and 40 tons from French non-government organizations. A 67-man team composed of civil security officers and personnel from the Paris-based French Crisis Center, Philippine Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, local government officials and partners from the private sector delivered the relief goods.

The French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (FCCP), in coordination with the French embassy, French Foreign Trade Counselors in the Philippines and the Philippines-France Business Council created last week the Philippines-France United Action (PFUA) committee to synchronize assistance from the French community in the country.

“Immediately after the typhoon, French companies were quick to mobilize to donate,” said Cyril Rocke, president of the FCCP.

“The aim of this committee is to better coordinate and communicate efforts from the French community. We have received many offers of donations from companies, and projects to help those affected by the typhoon have been presented to them as well. Through this inventory of contributions, donors would be able to allocate their resources more efficiently,” he said.

The French business community has donated 10 million euros as of Nov. 25.

“The key activity of PFUA is to integrate communication and coordination for the French community to identify and participate in key projects that will make a positive difference in the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Philippines,” said French Foreign Trade Counselor Philippe Gauthier.


Meanwhile, the Japanese government has donated $500,000 or some P20 million for the livelihood of the survivors, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported yesterday.

ILO said Japan’s Ministry of Labor and Welfare has released the amount from the ILO and Japan’s Fund for Building Social Safety Nets in Asia and the Pacific.

Yoshiteru Uramoto, ILO assistant director-general and regional director for Asia and the Pacific, said financial support from Japan is very valuable to people who lost their jobs and other sources of livelihood because of Yolanda. – With Helen Flores, Mayen Jaymalin, Dino Balabo


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