MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC--(Marketwired - Dec. 4, 2013) - The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, today hosted a roundtable meeting with members of Montreal's Filipino-Canadian community to discuss Canada's response in the Philippines to Typhoon Haiyan and to seek input on how to strengthen future cooperation between the two countries.
"Canada remains committed to supporting the Philippines and working with them to overcome the crisis caused by the typhoon, not only in the short term, but also for the longer-term," said Minister Paradis. "Our relationship with the Philippines is long and strong. That was evident during my trip to the Philippines last week and the discussions that took place this morning. The feedback I received today will help me ensure that remains true for years to come."
Minister Paradis updated community members on the ongoing relief efforts indicating that although progress made to date is very encouraging, much work remains to be done regarding shelter, water and sanitation, access to health care, clearing debris, as well as restoring livelihoods. The Minister recently visited some of the hardest-hit areas of the country where he witnessed first-hand the widespread devastation and met with men, women and children affected by Typhoon Haiyan. He also met officials from local government and from the United Nations, as well as humanitarian partners.
"The fundraising efforts throughout Canada, and especially within the Filipino-Canadian community, have been extraordinary. Canadian charities tell me that thanks to the compassion and generosity of Canadian individuals and corporations, they have collected over $35 million in donations to date," added Minister Paradis. "I recently announced the extension of the matching fund so, in the lead up to Christmas, I encourage Canadians to keep donating, and our government will keep matching eligible donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to December 23, 2013."
Since the typhoon struck the Philippines on November 8, Canada has provided a rapid and well-coordinated humanitarian and consular response that includes $20 million in humanitarian assistance, the deployment of emergency relief items from the stockpiles of the Department Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada to support the deployment of the Canadian Red Cross Field Hospital, and the deployment of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Government of Canada is also matching every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians between November 9 and December 23, 2013, to registered Canadian charities responding to the impact of the typhoon.
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;
- establishing the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund to which the Government of Canada will contribute one dollar for each eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians between November 9 and December 23, 2013, to registered Canadian charities responding to the impact of Typhoon Haiyan; Canada also announced an initial $15 million on November 18, which will count against that fund, bringing Canada's total humanitarian assistance to $20 million;
- 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 the Canadian Red Cross field hospital and medical team to provide emergency health support in Ormoc, in the province of Leyte, which opened on November 21;
- deploying relief supplies from Canada's emergency stockpile, including approximately 3,000 tents, 16,000 blankets, 1.3 million water purification 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 victims of Typhoon Haiyan and to coordinate national and international Disaster Victim Identification efforts.
- deploying an epidemiologist from the Public Health Agency of Canada in response to a request by the World Health Organization, to join a team of public health professionals to identify and make recommendations on how to mitigate the risks to public health, such as infectious diseases.
To date, according to preliminary estimates provided by Canadian charitable organizations, Canadian individuals and have donated over reached more than $35 million. Partners have indicated that the bulk of these are individual donations.
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 offer support to the Government of the Philippines in the aftermath of the natural disaster.
On November 26 to 28, 2013, Minister Paradis visited the Philippines to witness the situation on the ground firsthand, meet with local officials as well as Canadian and international humanitarian partners, and observe the effectiveness and impact of Canadian assistance.