PMI, ICRC to cooperate in assisting Haiyan victims

22 November, 2013 | Source: Republika

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will cooperate in providing assistance for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines last week.

According to PMI, in its press release made available to Antara here on Tuesday, the agreement was reached after PMI Chairman Jusuf Kalla held talks with his counterpart on the sidelines of the general session of the ICRC at the Sydney Convention Center, Sydney Australia.

Besides the ICRC, the PMI will also ask the Association of National Red Cross and International Red Crescent to cooperate in assisting Philippine typhoon victims.

Kalla said the PMI and ICRC had agreed to a number of steps in which PMI and ICRC would launch a joint operation during the ongoing state of emergency response, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases.

Kalla said that based on experience in handling disasters in Indonesia, an emergency response usually continues for three weeks to one month.

It is then followed by rehabilitation of public and social facilities and by reconstruction of seriously damaged infrastructures.

Damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, which reached the Philippines on November 8, 2013, according to Kalla, is comparable to the damage caused by the tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia in December 2004.

The Philippine typhoon destroyed many buildings, which were flattened to the ground as a result of strong winds and water that struck communities along coastal areas.

The strongest typhoon recorded worldwide this year, and possibly the most powerful ever to hit land, smashed into the Philippines on Friday, forcing more than one million people to flee, flooding villages and raising fears of widespread casualties.

Haiyan, a category-5 super typhoon, scoured the northern tip of Cebu province and headed northwest towards Boracay island, both tourist destinations, after lashing the central islands of Leyte and Samar with 275-kph (170 mph) winds and 5-6 meter (15-19 ft) waves.

Additionally, the Indonesian government is coordinating with the Philippine government to send aid to victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

"The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has been ordered to take actions in our capacity as a friendly country, neighbor and common ASEAN member," presidential spokesman Julian A Pasha said.

He commented, after accompanying the President during a limited cabinet meeting at the Heroes′ Cemetery Complex in Kalibata, that the process of delivering aid was still underway under the coordination of BNPB and the foreign ministry.

The Indonesian government is aware of the difficult situation the Philippine government and its people are dealing with, and it will continue to coordinate with the Philippine government with regard to aid needed by the Philippines, he said.

President Yudhoyono, on his twitter account, also said that the government is coordinating with the Philippine government with regard to aid it will send there.

"Like other countries had done when Indonesia was dealing with natural disasters, our aid will consist of medical supplies, water, food and other items," he said.

The super typhoon has reportedly killed thousands of people in Leyte province in Central Philippines.

Cities in the coastal areas in the province have been devastated after being hit by huge waves caused by the storm on Friday, according to media reports.

Most victims died after being swept away by waters carrying debris from buildings and structures hit by the waves, similar to a tsunami incident.

Tacloban, the capital city of Leyte province with a population of some 220,000, has borne the brunt of the typhoon disaster, believed to be the strongest to ever hit land.

Meanwhile, the World Food Agency is reported to have sent 40 tons of biscuits to feed 120,000 people per day, in additional to emergency aid supplies.

 

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