Typhoon Haiyan: Filipinos overwhelmed by UAE’s generosity and support

UAE Filipinos were grateful to the UAE's US$10 million donation to the Philippines and thanked Sheikh Khalifa for his generosity, compassion and humanity.

Rescue workers are struggling to bring aid and supplies to famished and destitute survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines which may have killed more than 10,000 people, in what is feared to be the country's worst natural disaster.  Tara Yap/AFP Photo
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ABU DHABI // Filipinos in the UAE have said they have been overwhelmed by the compassion, humanity and the generosity extended by the UAE to the Super Typhoon Haiyan victims and their families.

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, ordered on Sunday a US$10 million (Dh37m) relief effort for the Philippines.

Sheikh Khalifa also sent his personal condolences to the Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, and his people.

“This gesture shows the UAE’s strong support for the Philippines and its people, particularly the overseas Filipino workers here who have contributed to the development of this country,” said Alan Bacason, a 49-year-old human resources professional in Dubai whose family has been directly affected by the typhoon in Tacloban City.

“The UAE’s generosity is a testament to the country’s wise leadership and magnifies their spirit of compassion.”

It was not the first time this year that the UAE had provided relief aid to the Philippines.

In June, a delegation from the UAE Red Crescent Authority distributed food parcels to about 500 families living in tents in Compostela Valley in the southern Philippines, after they were displaced by Typhoon Bopha, locally known as Typhoon Pablo.

"Wow, we are indeed well-loved by Sheikh Khalifa and the UAE," said Amparo Lauzon, 41, who works for an aviation company in Dubai. "US$10 million is such a huge amount."

Ms Lauzon is originally from Tacloban City in Leyte, one of the worst-hit areas of the monster typhoon.

“We thank the UAE for their generous support and all the other countries in this hour of need,” said Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE.

“It will certainly go a long way in alleviating the plight of thousands of typhoon victims.”

The United Nations World Food Programme mobilised food stocks at its humanitarian response depots around the world, with 40 metric tonnes of fortified biscuits to be flown from Dubai.

It is also working with the Philippine government to boost logistics and emergency telecommunications capacity.

Yesterday, rescuers faced blocked roads and damaged airports as they raced to deliver desperately needed tents, food and medicines to the typhoon-devastated eastern Philippines, where thousands are believed dead.

“We are thankful to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa for his generosity,” said Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, the chief executive officer of Geoscience Testing Laboratory, which has launched a fundraiser.

"He is following in the footsteps of his father Sheikh Zayed. Just like his father, he has helped a lot of countries in times of crisis. I am a proud UAE resident who looks up to Sheikh Khalifa's greatness and excellent leadership."