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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Philippines to extend help to quake-hit Nepal

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Monday that his administration will be extending assistance to Nepal, which was struck by a magnitude-7.8 earthquake over the weekend.

Aquino, in a statement, said that the Filipinos join the rest of the world in expressing sorrow and concern for the people in Nepal, as they contend with the destruction wrought by the earthquake, which hit near its capital of Kathmandu on Saturday.

"Time and again, the world has come together to render assistance in times of dire need: Filipinos from all walks of life have likewise expressed sympathy and offered prayers for the Nepalese people," he said.

He noted that nations of goodwill have already pledged aid in all forms, as Nepal engages in the work of rescue and recovery.

Aquino has directed the Department of Foreign Affairs to send a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi, India to go to Nepal to meet the needs of Filipinos affected by the earthquake.

"More than this, the Philippine government will be communicating with our counterparts in Nepal, to offer assistance. We are prepared to, and consequently taking steps to, render aid to the maximum of our limitations," he said.

"In this time of great loss, Nepal is not alone. We are confident that, with the help of the entire world, they will be able to overcome this calamity," the President added.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr. said the military can send one platoon or about 40 soldiers “for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” depending on the request of the Nepalese government.

“In case we are ordered by our commander-in-chief, we are ready to send a delegation to Nepal to help them in humanitarian relief operations,” he said.

For its part, the Philippine Red Cross is calling on Filipinos to donate in cash.

“The people of Nepal are suffering immensely right now…PRC is appealing to our kababayans here and abroad to donate in cash for Nepal Red Cross to and through the PRC for support to the most vulnerable people of Nepal,” PRC chairman Richard Gordon said in a statement.

In making the appeal, Gordon said that it is the Filipinos' turn to help after the world assisted the Philippines when super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated Eastern Visayas in November 2013.

Parts of Central Visayas, meanwhile, were damaged by a magnitude-7.2 tremor a month before Yolanda struck.

The PRC said is it is initially sending water and sanitation teams but the humanitarian organization will also send other teams such as rescue and emergency field hospital experts shortly.

At the moment, Gordon said only emergency response-related travel to Nepal is recommended until the situation in the quake-hit country has stabilized since land travel is likely to be difficult or impossible due to debris, damaged roads, landslides and avalanches.

Death toll in Nepal due to earthquake has already reached over 3,000. (SDR/Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/Sunnex)

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