MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine embassy in the United States has called on Filipino-Americans to lend a helping hand to victims of Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao even as it thanked the US government for providing an additional $3 million in humanitarian assistance.
In an urgent appeal, Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr. called on the estimated 4 million members of the Filipino-American community in the US to donate funds to support relief efforts for the victims of the most devastating storm to hit the Philippines this year.
“We call on our kababayans in America to extend a helping hand,” the ambassador said in a statement issued from Manila, where the 3rd Philippine-US Bilateral Security Dialogue has been taking place.
“Our kababayans in Mindanao are badly in need of help. In the spirit of Christmas, we appeal to your kind generosity in helping the affected families,” he added.
Cuisia’s call came in the wake of the announcement by US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. of the additional $3-million assistance from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Thomas said the new assistance, in addition to the $100,000 released by the USAID to the Catholic Relief Services to fund the initial relief efforts, was intended for emergency shelters, logistics, water sanitation, hygiene and provisions for emergency relief commodities in badly stricken areas in Mindanao.
The US Pacific Command has also dispatched two C-130 aircraft based in Okinawa to assist government authorities in ferrying humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies to the disaster-hit areas. Personnel of the US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines based in Zamboanga City have also been ordered to support disaster-relief operations in the affected areas.
The ambassador thanked Washington for its immediate response to the disaster, saying the assistance would go a long way in helping the victims of the tragedy.
According to the National Disaster Reduction and Risk Management Council (NDRRMC), typhoon Pablo left as many as 647 dead; 1,482 injured; 780 missing; and more than P7-billion in damage during its destructive sweep across Mindanao last week. The typhoon also affected as many as 500,000 families.
Cuisia said that in addition to funds, the victims in the affected areas have been in need of ready-to-eat meals and bottled water. He said members of the Filipino-American Community could send their monetary donations to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center, Department of Social Welfare and Development or the Philippine Red Cross.