In the Philippines, Switzerland is making great efforts in the wake of devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan to ensure that victims of the typhoon receive urgently needed assistance without delay. The FDFA has therefore decided to allocate CHF 6 million to Swiss Humanitarian Aid operations in the affected areas. The sum will be used for water and basic sanitation, emergency shelter and medical assistance. Furthermore, Switzerland has pledged its support to international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations organisations which are active in the affected regions and which have called for financial contributions to their operations. Switzerland has also pledged to support these organisations through the secondment of experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA).
To date, Swiss Humanitarian Aid has dispatched 20 SHA experts to the Philippines, including specialists in water and sanitation, emergency shelter, medical assistance and logistics. With the help of the Swiss embassy in Manila, which has been reinforced by members of the FDFA’s Crisis Response Pool, the SHA experts are concentrating their efforts on the north of Cebu Island and around Ormoc City. In northern Cebu they have already begun to distribute food, hygiene kits, shelter kits for temporary accommodation, and kitchen sets, all of which were purchased locally.
Swiss Humanitarian Aid has also so far shipped 21 tonnes of emergency assistance to the Philippines. The first shipment has now reached the regions devastated by the typhoon and contains equipment for the purification and distribution of water, including several high-capacity reservoirs for drinking-water, disinfection materials and distribution systems. Deployment of this material has begun in Daanbantayan and Ormoc. Medical materials to provide health care for 10,000 people for three months have also been brought to the Philippines, and Swiss Humanitarian Aid is currently assessing which hospitals need it most. A further shipment of emergency assistance left Switzerland on 14 November, containing 2,000 plastic tarpaulins and 2,000 water canisters to complete the first deliveries.
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