Relief Work boosted by heavy lifters

UN Brings Russian MI 171 to expedite relief efforts!

October 17, 2009

MANILA - Relief donations for Typhoons Ketsana and Parma victims officially breached the $100 million mark as of Friday, October 17, 2009 the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday with the United Nations funding $44 million of relief assistance commitment to the country.
Emirates Sky Cargo. Relief goods from the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) arrived at Ninoy Aquino International airport in October 13, 2009 from New York via Dubai on a special flight that filled the flagship of the Skycargo fleet, which was loaded in a Boeing 777-F1H with registry A6-EDF intended for typhoon victims that devastated the country leaving 650 dead and displacing 6 million people. They were turned-over to the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) for distribution to the affected families. The UN's chief humanitarian official John Holmes said the body may have to revise upwards its flash appeal of 74 million USD for the Philippines issued last week. Image Courtesy Daylife.

United Nations. Russian crew members prepare an MI 171 Russian helicopter at the Villamor Air Base on October 15, 2009 before performing its first relief mission in the country distributing relief goods to typhoon ravaged northern Luzon island.Image Courtesy Daylife.

US Air Force. American soldiers (R) and Filipino police help unload relief goods carried by US Sea Knight helicopters at Loakan Airport in Baguio City, in the northern Philippines on October 11, 2009. Search and rescue teams struggled to reach areas of the northern Philippines cut off by storm-triggered landslides and flooding that have left more than 600 people dead, officials said. Altogether the death toll from Parma and tropical storm Ketsana, which killed 337 in Manila and surrounding areas, stands at 636, according to the civil defence office, with fears the toll could rise. $150 million capital investment program. Courtesy Getty Images and Daylife.
US Marines. U.S. Marines carry bags of relief goods from the Philippine government and the International Red Cross as other local residents line up to unload from a U.S.M.C. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter intended for typhoon victims of Ketsana and Palma that devastated the country leaving 650 dead and displacing 6 million people. Image Courtesy Daylife.

Filipinos overseas and the international community have donated and pledged a total of $94,703,203 (approximately P4.41 billion) to victims of tropical storm Ondoy as of Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
However, only 19 million dollars had been committed so far from the 74 million dollars the United Nations requested in a "flash appeal" last week, said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes.

That money is just for relief connected to Tropical Storm Ketsana which hit the Southeast Asian nation on September 26. But the United Nations will have to ask for more than the 74 million dollars initially requested after Tropical Storm Parma battered the country from October 3 to 10, said Holmes.

"We will revise it (the sum). We may need to increase it," Holmes told reporters.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has loaned two helicopters to help the Philippine government in rescue operations and the distribution of relief goods.

The two dismantled MI 171 helicopters arrived on board a Russian Ilyushin 76 Cargo plane at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Monday, October 12 from Antalia, Turkey.

Civil Aviation Authority clearance has been obtained for the two MI-171s serving the Philippines operation. The first flights took place Wednesday with destinations from La Trinidad/Baguio into surrounding cut-off and hard-to-access barangays in Benguet to perform assessment missions and deliver urgently needed relief goods.

Barry Came, UN World Food Program public information officer, said the Philippine government had asked for the helicopters.

The two helicopters can fly up to 600 kilometers non-stop and carry 20 people and some 2.5 tons of relief goods, he added.

One more helicopter is expected to arrive next week from Laos complementing the other two, he added.

The helicopters were immediately assembled for deployment and will be based in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Meanwhile, the US government has committed two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters as part of the relief effort with almost $5 million financial assistance coming from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Filipinos overseas as well as the international community have also donated close to $15 million with Australia heading the pack with A$ 3 million contribution.

On Oct. 3, Australia announced a further A$2 million (P80 million) on top of the A$1 million pledged earlier to feed thousands of people affected by the two typhoons.

It will be delivered through the World Food Program (WFP) in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Australian technical experts are also working on the ground providing logistical and communication support to the response and relief efforts of the Philippine government and UN partners.

Several Australian NGOs are also actively involved in relief efforts with expected total contribution valued at $5 million.

The Finnish Red Cross also send relief shipment to the Philippines including some 4,000 mosquito nets, 4,000 buckets and 2,300 water canisters which was loaded onto a Manila-bound Emirates cargo airplane in Tampere on Thursday.

The Finnish Red Cross purchased the supplies with money donated to its catastrophe fund. The agency has to date donated 50,000 euros to the Philippines, bringing the total value of Finnish Red Cross aid up to 100,000 euros.

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