tropical cyclones in PH

Countries offer aid, share sympathies after Typhoon Odette devastates PH

Sofia Tomacruz
Countries offer aid, share sympathies after Typhoon Odette devastates PH

HOMES DESTROYED. Photo of Typhoon Odette-battered areas which were visited by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the towns of Cebu and Bohol on December 19, 2021.

Malacau00f1ang Photo

(6th UPDATE) World leaders and international organizations promise aid for the Philippines after Typhoon Odette wrought intense destruction and displaced thousands

MANILA, Philippines – World leaders and the international community have pledged to assist the Philippines after Typhoon Odette left a trail of destruction across the country and displaced thousands across several regions in all the island groups in the country.

At its peak, Odette had maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h. Signal No. 4 was the highest wind signal raised during the onslaught of the typhoon, which destroyed homes, uprooted trees, and toppled power lines.

According to police estimates, at least 300 people were declared dead as of Monday, December 20.

Odette made landfall in the country nine times from December 16 to 17, before leaving the Philippine Area of Responsibility at 12:40 pm on Saturday, December 18. Odette was also the Philippines’ 15th tropical cyclone for 2021, coming just a week before Christmas. Around 20 form within or enter PAR each year.

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Rappler has compiled this list of foreign aid and messages of solidarity from foreign governments, different embassies, and international organizations:

Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, December 21, pledged financial assistance for relief efforts, which would be coursed through the Red Cross to address immediate needs on the ground in hard-hit areas. 

“My heart goes out to the people of the Philippines, whose lives have been forever changed by last week’s super typhoon. Canadians are sending our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones – and we’ll keep everyone affected in our thoughts during this challenging time,” Trudeau said.

Canadian Minister for International Development Harjit Sajjan said $3 million in assistance would be given to the Philippines, including $500,000 for urgent response through the Red Cross. 

Japan

The Japanese government announced it would offer disaster relief assistance through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), with the following relief goods provided :

  • Generator
  • Camping Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Portable Jerry Can/water containe
  • Tarpaulin/plastic sheet to cover the roof
  • Cord reels
  • Adaptor Plug Sets

Japan said the goods would be shipped in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure they would be immediately distributed to areas devastated by Odette. 

On Twitter, Japanese Amabssador Kazuhiko Koshikawa expressed Tokyo’s heartfelt sympathies as he offered respect to those responding to those in need in hard-hit areas. 

 “My heart and prayers go out to everyone in large parts of Visayas and Mindanao hit by Typhoon #OdettePH. My deepest respect to the brave first responders of the ongoing disaster relief and recovery operations in the area. I hope for everyone’s safety,” he said. 

United States

Through the United States Agency for International Development, Washington is providing the following: 

US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava said Washington was ready to assist the Philippines’ ongoing relief efforts as she offered condolences to families of victims. 

On December 22, the US said P10 million ($200,000) in immediate assistance would also be provided to communities affected by Typhoon Odette. Along with this, USAID had partnered with Action Against Hunger to provide food, water, hygiene supplies, and other relief items to Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands. 

Days later, on December 27, the US pledged another P50 million in support for communities affected by Odette. The United Nations World Food Programme and US Agency for International Development will be working together to give logistics and emergency telecommunications support. The US Embassy said four emergency logistics hubs will be set up in Surigao del Norte to store and distribute relief goods. 

Australia

The Australian government partnered with the Philippine Red Cross to provide pre-positioned emergency supplies, while Australian Ambassador Steve Robinson said the country was working with the Philippines on further options to provide assistance. 

With aid from Australia and other donors, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provided the following to displaced families in Siargao and the Dinagat Islands: 

  • 1,000 solar lamps
  • 1,000 mosquito nets
  • 1,000 plastic tarps
  • 200 plastic sheets 

France

French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz said the French government stood in solidarity with the Philippines and was ready to offer assistance in relief efforts together with the French Chamber of Commerce and the France-Philippines United Action Foundation.

“Saddened by the severe destruction and loss of lives caused by Typhoon Odette. Full solidarity with the Philippine government and citizens, we are ready to assist in disaster and relief response,” she said. 

United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez said the UN, along with non-governmental organizations and private sector partners were currently coordinating to provide immediate needs like shelter, health, food, protection, and other responses to badly-hit areas. 

“Our message to the people of the #Philippines is one of solidarity and support…. A coordinated response by the UN agencies, NGOs, and private sector partners in country is already underway,” Gonzalez said.

Germany

German Foreign Office Director General for Asia and the Pacific Petra Sigmund shared the German government’s sympathies with the Philippines as thousands struggled with the destruction wrought by Odette. 

“My thoughts go out to the families of those dead or missing, and to the hundreds of thousands who had to flee from home,” Sigmund said.

The German government also provided the following: 

  • P70.4 million (€1.2 million) through IOM’s strategic response and recovery plan for COVID-19 for the Philippines. (Part of the funds will be redirected for emergency assistance to communities affected by the typhoon.)

UNHCR

UNHCR 

The UNHCR provided additional aid in the form of core relief items composed of the following:

  • 1,000 solar lamps
  • 1,000 mosquito nets
  • 1,000 4x5m plastic sheets with eyelets
  • Fire retardant
  • 200 4x50m reinforced plastic tarpaulins

The group said items were delivered to severely affected areas in Siargao and Dinagat Islands, as well as the coastal municipalities in the mainland of Surigao del Norte province.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Based on initial assessments, UNICEF said around 845,000 children were in need of urgent assistance. Families in hard hit areas were also in need of food, water, medicines, clothing, personal protective equipment (PPE), cooking equipment,  family kits with sleeping materials, hygiene kits, temporary shelter, disaster kits, tents for healthcare facilities and go bags.  

UNICEF’s office in  Cotabato City has dispatched the following items to the Dinagat Islands, Siargao, Surigao City and Surigao del Norte:

  • 2,000 family hygiene and dignity kits (with items including water buckets, soaps, toothpaste and sanitary napkins)
  • 2,767 packs of water purification tablets
  • Additional 2,018  bottles (in 100ml) of household water disinfectants
  • 2 collapsible bulk water storages
  • 50 emergency latrine kits
  • 25 tents for district hospitals and Rural Health Units

China

The Chinese government announced it would provide P50 million ($1 million) in emergency cash assistance to the Philippines. 

“Our hearts go out to all the Filipino families who were devastated by Typhoon Odette which has caused massive casualties as well as property loss,” Chinese Ambassador to the Philippine Huang Xilian said. 

China said it would also distribute the following items to hard-hit areas: 

  • 20,000 food packages (with 5 kilograms of rice, 10 pieces canned food and 10 noodles packs)
  • 4.725 million kg of rice 

Meanwhile, Chinese state media reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping extended condolences to President Rodrigo Duterte, saying he was shocked to learn of the devastation caused by Typhoon Odette. 

Xi said China was ready to provide the Philippines with assistance and shared his deep sympathies to victims of the typhoon. 

European Union

The European Union pledged an initial €1.7 million or some P96 million in humanitarian funding to provide immediate needs like food, drinking water, shelter and other urgently needed household items.

“In an immediate response to typhoon Rai which caused wide-spread destruction and deplorable loss of lives in the Philippines, the EU stands by the Filipino people in these difficult times and has started to provideemergency relief actions to those affected in close cooperation with our humanitarian partners”, said Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič.

As of December 23, the EU and its member states allocated and delivered over P160 million or €2.83 million worth of humanitarian assistance. 

The European Commission’s Emergency and Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) also offered free use of its satellite maps to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Department of Science and Technology to help them survey areas affected by Typhoon Odette. The  EU delegation to the Philippines said the EU Copernicus Emergency Management Services for Rapid Mapping “can show a delineation of the damage or an assessment of the destruction.” Aside from this, it proposed to provide satellite imagery to assess damage in the Cebu Airport, low lying urban areas of Cebu, Puerto Princesa City and its international airport. 

Korea

SOLIDARITY. hilippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Korean Ambassador Kim Inchul in a meeting on December 15, 2021.

In a meeting between Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Korean Ambassador Kim Inchul, the Korean government provided P100 million ($2 million) in humanitarian assistance for relief efforts.

On December 22, the Korean embassy in the Philippine said it was also in the process of providing additional P2.75 million ($55,000) in-kind to for immediate relief response efforts in the coming days. 

Ambassador Kim earlier conveyed President Moon Jae In’s sympathies and shared the country’s solidarity with the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

“President Moon Jae In sent a message of sympathies and solidarity to President Duterte. In his message, he expressed his sincere condolences to the families of victims who are suffering sorrow and pain,” Kim said.

New Zealand

Through the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), New Zealand contributed NZ$500,000 or some P16.8 million to support ongoing relief efforts after Typhoon Odette slammed the Philippines.

Ireland

On December 22, Ireland announced it provided €250,000 or some P14 million to provide essential goods and services to communities affected by Typhoon Odette. The Irish government said it would also work to provide more assistance with the World Food Programme in the Philippines and the UN.

United Kingdom

British Ambassador Amanda Milling said the United Kingdom shared its sympathies with the Philippines and committed P50.2 million (£750,000) to the Philippine Red Cross, through the IFRC to support relief efforts. 

“Spoke to Philippine Ambassador Lagdameo today to express the UK’s heartfelt sympathies to all those affected by the devastation caused by Typhoon Odette,” Milling said. 

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

ASEAN, through its coordinating center for humanitarian assistance on disaster management, distributed relief items for victims reeling from the aftermath of Typhoon Odette. The group provided aid with the support from the Japan-ASEAN integration fund and non-governmental organization Direct Relief. 

Hungary

Hungarian Ambassador Titanilla Tóth  said the Hungarian government will donate about P3 million in emergency assistance through Caritas Manila. 

Switzerland

The Swiss government contributed P32.6 million so far to the PRC, through IFRC, and added it was ready to provide further support as Filipinos reel from the onslaught of Typhoon Odette. 

Finland

Finland has provided P5.6 million (€100,000) through the IFRC and its partner RC societies. 

Netherlands

The Netherlands will provide P12.7 million (€225,000) by repurposing the amount from an existing project, along with a P11.3 million (€200,000) contribution to the PRC. 

Spain

The Spanish government provided the following:

  • P14.2 million (€250,000) to IFRC
  • P5.68 million (€100,000) to Action against Hunger
  • P7.38 million (€130,000) Spanish Red Cross (SRC)
  • P1.1 million (€20,000) contribution of SRC to PRC 

Sweden

The Swedish government committed P5.43 billion (€95.7 million) which has yet to be allocated for specific typhoon response efforts through the following groups: 

  • P104.8 million to OCHA
  • P3.3 billion to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund
  • P689 million to ICRC, IFRC 
  • P386 million to the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund which may all be activated for typhoon response 

South Korea

South Korea on Wednesday, December 22, pledged $2 million in cash assistance. In a press release on Thursday, December 23, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim In-chul “personally pledged” this during a courtesy call with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. 

Aside from cash assistance, South Korea also offered to donate to the Department of Social Welfare and Development 2,500 pieces of 25-kilogram sacks of rice amounting to $50,000.

Taiwan

Taiwan pledged P25 million or $500,000 for disaster relief efforts and shared its sympathies with Filipinos, saying, “The people of Taiwan share the same feeling when the people of the Philippines suffer from Super Typhoon Odette.”

The Taiwan Association Inc. and the Love From Koten Foundation also donated P2.7 million and P2 million, respectively, for disaster relief assistance. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.