Foreign aid pours in for 'Sendong' flood victims

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2011 09:50 PM | Updated as of Dec 23 2011 08:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign countries are providing emergency relief to the Philippines following the destruction of tropical storm “Sendong,” which left more than 1,000 people dead.

Several countries, particularly France, Japan, United States and Spain, have expressed concern and sympathy for the victims of the massive flooding that hit northern Mindanao.

According to the French embassy in Manila, an emergency relief of €50,000 (approximately P2.8 million) will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), apart from the €3 million donated by the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines, which is partially funded by the French government.

The embassy contribution will be turned over to Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman Richard Gordon.

Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe turned over emergency relief goods worth 25 million yen (approximately P14 million) to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The relief goods include water tanks, generators, tents, sleeping mattresses, blankets and other relief items.

The United States is also providing $100,000 (P4.1 million) for the flood victims.

"On behalf of the US government and the American people, I extend my heartfelt condolences and sympathies to those who have suffered the tragic loss of loved ones, homes, and livelihoods due to floods caused by Tropical Storm Sendong," Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr. said in a press statement.

Ambassador Thomas said that the US government, through the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), will provide immediate relief assistance in partnership with Catholic Relief Services, US-based non-governmental organization.

A team from USAID and OFDA was earlier sent to visit flood-hit areas in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. The team is assessing the damage to determine if additional US funding will be needed.

"As a good friend and long-standing development partner, the United States will continue our work with the Philippine government and remain committed to help Filipinos overcome this great tragedy,” Thomas added.

The Embassy of Spain, meanwhile, said that the Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development (AECID, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el desarrollo) will provide €900,000 (approximately P51 million) for the victims.

The estimated cost of damage wrought by Sendong to infrastructure and agriculture in the Philippines is nearing P1 billion, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Sendong affected a total of 65,067 families, 49,441 of whom were served in and outside evacuation centers. The storm also damaged 12,131 homes, of which 3,581 were completely destroyed.

President Benigno Aquino III yesterday declared a state of national calamity in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the storm.