International aid groups rally for donations for Hagupit-hit areas

Thea Alberto-Masakayan
A general view of damaged houses swept by Typhoon Hagupit in Eastern Samar, in central Philippines December 8, 2014. Typhoon Hagupit weakened to a tropical storm as it churned close to the Philippine capital on Monday, after killing 27 people on the eastern island of Samar island where it flattened homes, toppled trees and cut power and communications. Manila shut down as Hagupit, which means "lash" in Filipino, took aim at the tip of the main island Luzon, just south of the capital city of 12 million people. REUTERS/ Stringer (PHILIPPINES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY DISASTER)

International aid groups have called for donations from all over the world for their relief efforts in the affected areas, mostly in the Visayas and Bicol region, of typhoon "Ruby" (International name: Hagupit).

World Vision has set up a disaster relief fund page asking supporters to donate at least $50 (P2,000), noting that many of Hagupit’s victims are also victims of 2013’s super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

“World Vision has already distributed an initial round of relief supplies, including hygiene kits and water to 2,500 families,” it said.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also set up a page where people can donate.

"It is unfortunate that some of the communities recovering from last year’s massive disaster [have] faced again yet another Super Typhoon,” Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative, said in a separate statement.

Meanwhile, World Food Programme (WFP) also called for financial support in its page while its USA office has called on supporters to donate using their mobile phones.

"Have your phone on you? Text AID to 27722 to donate $10 toward life-saving food aid in the #Philippines, currently facing Typhoon #Hagupit,” it said in its tweet.

WFP said it has also donated satellite phones to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

International Committee of the Red Cross have set-up a page intending to unite families separated by the typhoon.

Oxfam International for its part said it has prepared household water and hygiene kits for victims of “Ruby.”

Oxfam workers also seek to protect women and girls “who are most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters,” said Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke, who was in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan.

Earlier, General Gregorio Pio Catapang, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said countries such as Australia, Japan, US, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, UK, and China have pledged support.

Locally, Filipinos can volunteer through DSWD by repacking goods at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) along Chapel Road, Pasay City, beside the Air Transportation Office (ATO).

People in Metro Manila who wish to volunteer will have to set a schedule by contacting Prescilla Nitafan at 09084215334 or Marlyn Cumba at 09173149206, DSWD said.

Volunteers are also needed in Cebu and volunteers can coordinate with Jo Belontindos at 09391748342.