by Phil Bolton | November 20, 2013
The Philippines government is committed to providing electricity to the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan by Dec. 24 in time for Christmas, Raoul “Ray” Donato, the honorary consul general of the Philippines, said during a conference call of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta Nov. 20.
To meet that goal, he added, the government would have to rely on outside assistance including that of U.S. power companies. The Philippines government is to release $1.5 billion for the reconstruction of the islands devastated by the worst typhoon in the country’s history.
He said that U.S. relief efforts to date have been “breathtaking” with 50 ships delivering food and medications, in addition to the efforts provided by organizations such as CARE International.
Holly Solberg, director of emergency and humanitarian assistance at Atlanta-based CARE, said that the difficulty of providing recovery services on the affected islands exceeded that of the earthquake on Haiti in January 2010 primarily because of the inaccessibility to many of the stricken areas.
Both participants in the call that was moderated by Cedric Suzman, the council’s executive vice president, said that the recovery would be long-term.
Ms. Solberg said 13 million had been affected by the typhoon with 4 million forced from their homes and 2 ½ million in need of food with 5 million children malnourished. More than 4,000 people have died due to the typhoon.
CARE has worked with other relief organizations since the tsunami that devastated countries bordering the Indian Ocean in 2004 to create coordinated emergency services, which have worked together in the face of enormous challenges presented by the aftermath of the typhoon.
She said that CARE was mobilizing resources from around the world with its own personnel coming from Australia, Thailand and the United Kingdom as well as its Atlanta office.
Among the staff, she said, were experts with technical skills, procurement experience and human resource professionals including gender specialists who would be preoccupied with the stresses placed on women and girls.
Mr. Donato said the typhoon provided “a wake up call” concerning the need for more rigorous construction codes, and he said that the U.S. embassy already had been approached by construction companies interested in participating in the rebuilding.
Meanwhile, Lateh Sharifi and Melissa A. Dearing, partners in the Atlanta law firm of Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP, issued a brief on temporary immigration relief measures available to eligible Filipino nationals affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
They also cited President Obama’s urging that the Philippines be designated for Temporary Protected Status to provide additional relief to eligible Filipinos in the U.S.
A grant of TPS, they said, would allow Filipinos here to work and support their families in the Philippines who have been affected by the storm.
Ms. Sharifi may be reached at (404) 815-3787 and Ms. Dearing at 904-598-6131.