Foreign aid pledges, condolences pour in for ‘Sendong’ victims
MANILA, Philippines—The government has been getting “by the hour” pledges of financial support and other forms of aid from various countries for the victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong” in northern Mindanao, according to Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.
Del Rosario, on Wednesday told a news conference at a Pasay City hotel that the Aquino administration welcomes the offers of assistance.
“The world, in general, is responding in an altruistic manner” to the latest disaster that hit the country, he noted.
He said, however, that “the level of assistance will be determined by us.”
Contrary to some reports, the government has not made a “flash appeal” for foreign aid for the typhoon victims.
“We’re not at that point yet,” Del Rosario said.
At this writing, more than a dozen countries have offered various forms of aid to the flood victims in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.
They include the United States, China, Japan, Canada, Australia, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom, as well as the Organization of Islamic Countries and Association of Southeast Asian Nations member-states like Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Some of them asked, “What do you need?”… Others pledged cash,” said Del Rosario.
Like US President Barack Obama, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “has sympathized” with the flood victims.
On Monday, Obama expressed his condolences for the loss of life and devastation caused by Sendong.
In a statement released by the US Embassy in Manila, Obama noted “in the spirit of our long history of friendship and cooperation with the Philippines, the US stands ready to assist the Philippine people and government should humanitarian assistance and recovery efforts be needed.”
Earlier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Washington was “ready to assist Philippine authorities as they respond to this tragedy.”
Clinton said their “thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux and United Kingdom Foreign Minister Jeremy Browne also relayed their condolences to the typhoon victims in northern Mindanao.
The Australian government, meanwhile, promised to provide P55 million in relief aid to the disaster victims.
For its part, the Chinese Embassy in Manila donated at least P440,000 for its host government’s relief efforts.