UN, other int’l agencies on standby, offer to help
Various international aid organizations and the United Nations have already offered to help in the response to Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit) even before the cyclone could hit the Philippines.
The UN Humanitarian Country Team met with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Friday as the government pressed preparations for the typhoon.
“They are coordinating with us so that the help they are willing to give are in accordance with the needs of the affected people as determined by the national and local governments,” Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman told a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo.
Disaster response plan
The aid will be coursed through the response cluster of the National Disaster Response Plan (NDRP), which Soliman described as the “lessons learned” by the government from last year’s Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan).
In the NDRP, the response cluster has eight clusters under it: the coordination management and shelter; food and nonfood cluster; logistics; emergency telecommunications; search, rescue and retrieval; health; management of the dead and missing, and education.
The international aid groups willing to help in the response include the International Committee of the Red Cross, Save the Children, Oxfam, Christian Aid and Plan International.
Soliman said the UN Humanitarian Country Team wrote to offer support and assistance to the government as it prepared for Ruby.
She said the government met with the organizations to update them on the typhoon and to discuss what aid could be given.
The United Nations Children’s Fund is willing to help in health, sanitation and protection of children while the World Health Organization said it would help in health, sanitation and management of the dead and winning the typhoon victims’ trust.
The World Food Program said it could provide additional rice and logistics like the use of trucks, while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration made similar offers of help.
Coordination center, donations’ hub
Soliman said the Office of Civil Defense would serve as a coordination center for all kinds of support to avoid miscommunication and miscoordination, while the specific aid would be coursed through the concerned cluster under the NDRP.
“The Cebu airport will be our hub for all donations, so it would be easier to transport it via air or sea to Eastern Visayas. Our one-stop shop has been activated this afternoon, so donors willing to help may coordinate with Cebu to avoid problems in the payment of tax,” she said.