Local Red Cross makes Philippines appeal

| 18/11/2013

(CNS):The Cayman Islands Red Cross is appealing for funds to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar province in the Philippines, Friday, 8 November, causing a level of devastation reminiscent of the worst disasters seen this century in the form of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the Haiti earthquake of 2010. Typhoon Haiyan, said to be the strongest recorded typhoon to ever make landfall, has affected 9.8million people in nine regions across the Philippines, displacing nearly 660,000.The death toll now stands at 3,631.

The Red Cross Movement, along its main global partners including the United Nations and OXFAM, have been working diligently with local authorities and the local Philippines Red Cross to assess the situation, identify the most pressing needs of the affected population, and mobilise resources needed to assist.

Donations can be made to the Red Cross’ Typhoon Haiyan account at Butterfield Bank:
KYD Account 1360350540027 or USD Account 840350540039.

“We would like to thank the public, who as always have been coming forward to find ways that they can help the victims of this horrific disaster,” stated Jondo Obi, Branch Director. “We would also like to remind the public that we will not be collecting any items to send to the Philippines, but will be concentrating our efforts on raising funds as this will allow those on the ground to be able to respond more effectively and efficiently to the changing needs of the affected population.”

“It is important to understand the reasons why we don’t do a collection drive for supplies,” Deputy Director Carolina Ferreira explained. Firstly, there are the costs associated with such a drive. Even if the container and the items inside of it are donated, there are costs associated with transportation, arrival, and clearance of the container by the receiving organisation. Secondly there is a question of capacity by the receiving organisation to retrieve, transport and store the items shipped. Lastly, there is the question of helping to rebuild the damaged economy by ‘buying locally’ where possible.

“As a starting point we need to consider if the ports are even open. From there, we need to
find out if the receiving organisation is even in a position where they can claim the shipment. They may not have the adequate transport or even the money to do so if government fees are involved. Then there’s a question of capacity: even if they can retrieve the items and transport it out of there, can they store it adequately? Is it the best use of their resources to have their volunteers spend hours and hours on end trying to clear a shipment that may or not adequately address the needs of their population?”
Ferreira added.

“People’s hearts are in the right place, but if we look back at our experience following Hurricane Ivan we received a lot of donations that were unsuitable for our population and the time that was spent claiming, transporting, sorting and essentially tossing unsuitable donations would have been better spent else assisting the most vulnerable. We’ve been through it. We know what it’s like, so it’s important for to us to do our part and not cause any unnecessary stress for those who are burdened by this catastrophe,” she recalled.

Along with the appeal, the Cayman Islands Red Cross is also reminding the public of it’s ability to assist families seeking news from or about their loved one.

“The CIRC is able to send messages from family members in the Cayman Islands who are looking for their loved ones in the Philippines to our partner Red Cross organisations working in the disaster areas to restore family links” explains Disaster Manager, Danielle Coleman. “We urge anyone who has not been able to locate or get any news on someone who may have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan to get in touch with our office.”

For more information on how to donate or get involved, contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross on 949-6785 or pso@redcross.org.ky. For tracing and messaging request of persons possibly affected by Typhoon Haiyan contact deputy@redcross.org.ky.

See also The Philippines Red Cross.

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