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Foreign aid pours in for Odette victims

Foreign aid pours in for Odette victims

Several countries, including the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada, and Ireland on Wednesday announced more relief aid to Philippine communities ravaged by Typhoon Odette.

Washington, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing P10 million or $200,000 in immediate assistance to support  communities devastated by Odette, internationally known as Super Typhoon Rai.

China, for its part, said it is donating an emergency cash assistance of $1 million to the Philippine government to support its relief and recovery efforts on top of food donations for the victims in Central Visayas and parts of Mindanao.

Japan said it is providing generator, camping tent, sleeping pad, portable jerry can/water container, and tarpaulin/plastic sheet covers.

The disaster relief goods, its embassy said, will be shipped and in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava extended her deepest sympathies to those affected by Typhoon Odette and assured Filipinos of Washington’s ongoing commitment to providing assistance.

“The United States is providing Php10 million in immediate support, including food and shelter for communities affected by Typhoon Odette,” Variava said.  “We are committed to working alongside our friends and partners to provide emergency supplies and recovery assistance.”

Earlier, China said around 20,000 food packages worth P8 million were sent to those affected by the typhoon — the strongest to hit the Philippines this year.

Meanwhile, the South Korean government said it will send USD2 million in aid for recovery efforts, and USD50,000 for emergency relief operations.

"We are going to consult with major humanitarian partners. 50K USD will be used as emergency relief action for procuring and delivering rice to those affected by the Typhoon. 2 million USD will aim at supporting recovery efforts to build resilience and restore livelihoods in communities affected by typhoon," the Korean Embassy Manila said.

Canada will also send financial assistance worth up to $3 million Canadian dollars (approximately P120 million) for immediate relief efforts, of which $500,000 or P20 million will be given to the Red Cross, Canada's International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said.

“Canada will always do our part to help in times of need. After a devastating typhoon, Global Affairs Canada will help our friends in the Philippines with up to $3M in assistance, including $500,000 for the urgent Red Cross response," he said.

The country will also give an additional $50,000 from the Canadian Embassy's Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for relief efforts in Caraga, the embassy said.

“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,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter.

Ireland donated €250,000 or approximately P14 million to the UN World Food Programme's emergency response to Typhoon Odette.

“Wherever a disaster strikes, Ireland is ready to do our part to help save lives and restore the dignity of those who have been affected. In response to this crisis, I have approved funding of €250,000 to the UN World Food Programme," Ireland’s Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy T.D. said in a statement.

"This is an expression of our friendship and support to the people of the Philippines and will help to respond rapidly to the needs of the most vulnerable communities in the difficult days ahead," he added.

Ireland’s new Ambassador to the Philippines William Carlos and WFP Country
Director Brenda Barton visited the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City.

Through the aid of Ireland and other donors, WFP will continue to support the DSWD by providing critical logistics support to impacted areas.

So far, 70,400 DSWD family food packs have been sent to the Visayas and Mindanao with WFP support. In addition, two mobile storage units and a generator for the establishment of a logistics hub in Surigao City have been provided to DSWD.

Meanwhile, Taiwan donated US$500,000 to the Philippines on Wednesday for disaster relief.

The donation was received by Manila Economic and Cultural Office Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo Fernandez, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office said on Twitter.

Local governments said at least 375 people were killed, 56 were missing and 500 were injured, but the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has been providing lower casualty figures. The reported death toll due to Typhoon Odette has climbed to 177, with 275 injured and 38 still missing, the  NDRRMC said on Wednesday.

Odette packed sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour with gusts of up to 270 kph, leaving a trail of destruction in Central Visayas and parts of Mindanao on Friday.

Despite ongoing cleanup and repairs, several areas remained out of reach due to lack of power supply and downed communications.

Philippine officials fear the death toll could still increase in the coming days.

Other countries, such as France and Australia, have also pledged aid to the Philippine government's disaster relief operations. —With a report from Ted Cordero/RSJ/KG/AOL, GMA News