Kerry: ‘Your spirit is strong’ | Global News

Kerry: ‘Your spirit is strong’

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 06:45 AM November 10, 2013

A house is engulfed by the storm surge brought about by powerful typhoon Haiyan that hit Legazpi city, Albay province Friday Nov.8, 2013. AP

MANILA, Philippines—Citing the country’s strength and resilience during difficult times, the international community on Saturday conveyed its sympathies to the Philippines and its readiness to extend assistance in the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”), one of the planet’s strongest typhoons that hit the country early Friday.

In a statement from Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry cited the Filipino spirit in overcoming such challenges as he vowed to provide assistance to the Philippines amid the devastation.


“Your spirit is strong,” said Kerry, conveying the American people’s “deepest condolences and solidarity” to the country.


“Having so recently had my own visit to the Philippines prevented by another powerful storm, I know that these horrific acts of nature are a burden that you have wrestled with and courageously surmounted before,” said the official, who was forced to postpone his scheduled visit to Manila last month due to a storm.

He said the embassies in the Philippines and Palau were working with the government to see how the United States could help.

US Secretary of State John Kerry AP FILE PHOTO

European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux said the bloc would provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the typhoon as he expressed solidarity with the country.

“The Philippines has been severely tested by nature on several occasions this year. As it confronts yet another natural calamity I express my solidarity with the Filipino people and my deep sympathy with those who have lost their loved ones or their livelihoods,” Ledoux said in a statement.

Dispatched teams

British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad said the United Kingdom embassy has dispatched teams to help assess the typhoon damage.


“Yet again the resilience of the people of the Philippines is being tested in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda. With our expression of concern and sorrow for the victims comes our assurance of help,” Ahmad said.

“A team is on its way from the UK to assess needs and then mobilize resources. The fortunate ones will be able to recover quickly but the most vulnerable people will need help to rebuild their shattered lives,” he said.

He called on British citizens in the country to “play their part in assisting the affected communities.”

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell expressed concern for Filipinos affected by the storm as he extended his country’s “heartfelt sympathies for the massive destruction” wrought by Yolanda.

“Australia, as a close friend of the Philippines, is deeply concerned for the Filipino people at this difficult time. I admire the resilience and courage that Filipinos demonstrate under extreme pressure. I note that relief and recovery efforts are still ongoing in areas that were severely affected by the Bohol earthquake and the typhoon that also battered northern Luzon just last week,” said Tweddell.

“The Australian government is working closely with our partners, including in the Philippine government, to obtain more information on the impacts of the typhoon and the situation going forward,” he said.

The United States Embassy also sent its condolences to the Philippines as reports of deaths and destruction trickled in from the Visayas following the devastation brought by Yolanda.

“We commend the Philippine government for doing its best to prepare citizens and ensure reduced property damage by Yolanda. As a friend and steadfast ally, the US will always be there for the Philippines in times like this,” said US Chargé d’Affaires in Manila Brian Goldbeck on his Twitter account.

The US Embassy in Manila also said in a Twitter post that it was “busy working with our Philippine friends to respond to needs as soon as we can, as best we can.”

The United Nations and partner agencies yesterday also deployed teams to assist the Philippine government in assessing the damage wrought by the typhoon and establish emergency communication lines as power and phone lines remained out in much of the Visayas region.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Unocha) said organizations including the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination, the Asia-Pacific Humanitarian Partnership, Télécoms Sans Frontière and MapAction arrived in the country yesterday “to assist the government in establishing coordination hubs and conduct initial assessments.”

“We are working closely in support of government and local authorities to assess the life-saving needs of the people affected by this typhoon,” said Julie Hall, acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines in a statement.

“The Humanitarian Country Team and partners are fully prepared to support and assist the government in response to this latest typhoon. We will continue to support their efforts as we wait to see exactly the extent of the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan,” she said.

The Unocha said members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Emergency Rapid Assessment Team “have deployed to support coordination and emergency telecommunication.”

Initial UN assessment showed that some 18 million people were affected and more than 126,000 were evacuated as a precaution along the path of the superstorm, particularly provinces in Eastern Visayas.

It cited reports of flooding, landslides and wind damage around Eastern Samar and Leyte.

Unocha said needs assessment was underway “prioritizing shelter, food, health, water, sanitation and health facilities, camp management and logistics.”

Originally posted at 3:11 p.m. | November 9, 2013

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US, Great Britain cite Filipinos’ resilience in the wake of Typhoon ‘Yolanda’

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EU expresses solidarity with typhoon-battered Philippines

TAGS: Australia, EU, Foreign Affairs and International relations, international aid, Supertyphoon, UK, US, weather, Yolanda

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