Friday, November 15, 2013


   Jakarta, Nov 15, 2013 (Antara) - Indonesia, which is a disaster-prone country, has shown solidarity towards the Philippines, a fellow ASEAN member nation battered by super Typhoon Haiyan, by providing assistance worth US$2 million.  
    Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono made a symbolic presentation of the assistance to Filipino Ambassador to Indonesia Maria Rosario C. Aguinaldo in Jakarta on November 13.

        "This donation represents our solidarity as one of the ASEAN member countries and a humanitarian call to help our brothers and sisters in the Philippines," the Minister said in press statement.  The aid was taken from the national reserves in the state budget.
       Indonesia could feel the victims' suffering because it had been hit by similar disasters before, and therefore the government decided to send relief aid worth US$2 million as a token of solidarity, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman from the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said.
        The assistance includes 75 ton goods and logistical aid worth US$1 million, as well as US$1 million transferred to a current account. The 75 ton goods and logistical help consists of among other things food, food supplement, blankets, clothes, kids ware, medicines and 10 electricity generators.
        Indonesia's Defense Minister deployed three Hercules C-130 aircraft and a number of personnel to transport the relief aid on Wednesday. On Thursday, three planes flew to the Philippines again to send the assistance.
         The deadly typhoon had slammed into central Philippines last Friday (November 8), with the wind velocity touching 320 kilometers per hour.
         More than 920,000 people have been displaced and around four million people have been affected, the United Nations said as reported by Reuters.
    Tacloban, the capital city of Leyte province with around 220,000 population, had borne the brunt of the typhoon disaster believed to be the world's strongest ever.

          "As of 13 November, the government reported that 4,460 people have died,"  the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its daily situation report, issued out of Manila and dated Thursday (Nov 14).   Official confirmed deaths, however, stood at 2,357 .
         The dead are still being buried one week after the storm and a tsunami-like wall of seawater slammed into coastal areas. Many corpses remain uncovered on roadsides or under splintered homes in the worst-hit city of Tacloban, according to Reuters.
         "We are doing everything possible to rush assistance to those who need it. Now is the time for the international community to stand with the people of the Philippines." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Thursday during a visit to Latvia.
        Upon learning reports about the super typhoon ravaging the central Philippines, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono instructed the BNPB chief to immediately send relief aid.
        "The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has been ordered (by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) to take actions in our capacity as a friendly country, neighbor and fellow ASEAN member," presidential spokesman Julian A Pasha said on Sunday (Nov 10).
         The Indonesian government is aware of the difficult situation the Philippine government and its people are dealing with and it would coordinate with the Philippine government with regard to dispatching of assistance needed by the victims, he said.
       President Yudhoyono on his twitter account  said that the government is still coordinating with the Philippine government regarding relief aid to be sent there.
        "Like what other countries had done when Indonesia was hit by  natural disasters, our assistance would consist of medical supplies, water, food and others," Yudhoyono tweeted.
    In addition to the Indonesian government's aid, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) planned to provide assistance for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

       According to PMI, in its press release, the agreement was reached after PMI Chairman Jusuf Kalla held talks with his counterpart on the sidelines of the general session of the ICRC at the Sydney Convention Center, Sydney Australia.
        Kalla said the PMI and ICRC had agreed to a number of steps in which PMI and ICRC would launch a joint operation during the ongoing state of emergency response, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases.
        Damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, according to Kalla, is comparable to the damage caused by the tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia in 2004.
        On December 26, 2004, a deadly earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter Scale and a subsequent gigantic tsunami devastated Indonesia's northern most province of Aceh and Nias Island (North Sumatra) and killed over 170,000 people and destroyed most houses and infrastructures. More than one million people were displaced in the major natural disaster.
         Indonesian NGOs such as Muhammadiyah and alms house Rumah Zakat (RZ) are also making preparations for sending assistance to the Philippines.
        Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second largest Islamic organization, said it would send a medical team.   "We will be part of the world community in helping our fellow man and trying to reduce the impact of the disaster. We are also open to cooperate with other parties," Muhammadiyah chief Din Syamsuddin said.
        He noted that the medical team, which includes general practitioners, anesthetists, emergency specialists and nurses, would be divided into two teams, with the first scheduled to leave for the disaster-hit area in the Philippines on November 18 and is scheduled to stay until December 2.    
   The second team will depart for the Philippines on November 30 and stay until December 14, Din Syamsuddin said.

        Rumah Zakat (RZ) sent two doctors and two rescue volunteers to the Philippines, joining the South East Asia Humanitarian Committee (SEAHUM).
         "The RZ team consists of four people carrying medicines and food for refugees. They join SEAHUM," RZ CEO Nur Effendi said here on Friday.  They will be staying in the disaster-hit location for seven days, he added.
           Meanwhile, the Jakarta-based ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) planned to send an initial aid package of US$500,000 to the Philippines.
         "The humanitarian aid will consist of basic needs for the victims, such as blanket, food, generators and communications tools," AHA Centre Executive Director Said Faisal said Tuesday after meeting with  officials from the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives, ASEAN Defence Attaches, and ASEAN Dialogue Partners to discuss collaborative efforts in response to typhoon Haiyan emergencies in the Philippines and situation in Viet Nam.
          ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, in his capacity as ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, earlier offered assistance to the Government of the Philippines in response to the devastation brought about by Haiyan.
         "The ASEAN stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippines in these difficult times and we are ready to show the ASEAN spirit of a caring community to affected populations in the country," Minh said. ***4***
(T.F001/A/F. Assegaf/A/A. Abdussalam) 15-11-2013 20:37:19

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