The magnitude of the destruction across many regions of the Philippines is nearly impossible to comprehend,” said Minister Paradis. “I am truly proud to have witnessed the compassion and dedication shown by Canadian humanitarian workers who have travelled to the Philippines to help those in the worst of circumstances.”
Minister Paradis visited some of the hardest-hit areas of the country. In Ormoc, he toured the Canadian Red Cross field hospital, which is working closely with local hospital staff and other emergency health care providers to ensure that more than 100,000 people have access to a wide variety of essential health services, including surgery, medicine, maternal and child care, and outpatient services. The Minister also met with members of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), which has been deployed to Roxas City to contribute to relief efforts by providing clean water, medical assistance and logistical support.
“From the onset of this tragedy, Canada has played a leadership role in providing humanitarian assistance where it is needed most,” added Minister Paradis. “As we approach Christmas, I encourage Canadians to keep donating to registered Canadian charities, and our government will match eligible donations, dollar-for-dollar, right up to December 23, 2013.”
While in the Philippines, Minister Paradis also met with local government and United Nations officials, as well as with Canadian non-governmental and international humanitarian organizations, to discuss the ongoing challenges in delivering humanitarian assistance on the ground. The typhoon and subsequent storm surges have severely damaged local infrastructure, including roads, ports, and airports, which is impeding access to many areas.
Canada’s response to Typhoon Haiyan
The Government of Canada has taken decisive action to provide emergency relief to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. These measures include:
- providing an initial allocation of $30,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies before the typhoon made landfall to help launch relief operations;
- providing $5 million in immediate support to humanitarian organizations immediately following the typhoon for emergency relief activities;
- deploying more than 300 members of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) of the Canadian Armed Forces to address pressing humanitarian assistance needs in the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz, including opening/clearing roads, providing clean water using reverse-osmosis purification units, providing engineering support by repairing generators at hospitals and assessing bridges, and providing medical assistance and logistical support;
- deploying, with the Canadian Red Cross, a field hospital and medical team to provide emergency health support in Ormoc, in the province of Leyte, which opened on November 21;
- creating a matching fund by which the Government of Canada will contribute a dollar for each eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities, and extending it from December 9 to December 23, 2013. Canada also announced an initial $15 million, which will count against that fund;
- deploying relief supplies from Canada’s emergency stockpile, including approximately 3,000 tents, 16,000 blankets, 1.3 million water puri~ cation tablets, 5,000 shelter kits, 20,000 jerry cans, 19,750 tarps, and 4,400 buckets; shipment of these supplies began November 20, 2013, and will help meet the basic needs of as many as 5,000 families, or 25,000 people, for three months; and
- deploying two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers as part of the Interpol Incident Response Team, which is currently on the ground in Manila to help assess the requirements for the recovery and identification of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and to coordinate national and international Disaster Victim Identification efforts.
In addition, Canada will be prioritizing the processing of Filipino applications on request from those who are significantly and personally affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Requests from Filipino citizens who are temporarily in Canada and wish to extend their stay will be assessed in a compassionate and flexible manner. Canadians without travel documents as a result of the typhoon will have their applications expedited by the Canadian Embassy in Manila.
Prime Minister Harper also spoke with Benigno Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on November 11, to extend his heartfelt condolences to the people of the Philippines, and to ofer support to the Government of the Philippines in the aftermath of the natural disaster.