United States Donates Typhoon Relief Aid to Philippines, Vietnam

By Susan Krause
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - The United States government is providing disaster assistance to the Philippines and Vietnam in response to extensive damage caused in late September and early October by Typhoon Xangsane.

The storm's heavy rains and high winds lashed the Philippines' Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon islands - including the capital city Manila - September 27 and September 28, before moving on to strike Vietnam's central coast October 1.

In the Philippines, 110 people have been killed, with at least 80 injured and more than 70 reported missing.  The typhoon, referred to locally as Milenyo, caused floods and landslides that have displaced some 5,500 people.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced October 6 that it has donated $100,000 to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) to help cover the cost of relief supplies, including blankets, mosquito nets, plastic sleeping mats, water containers, rice and hygiene kits for thousands of families in the hard-hit provinces of Sorsogon and Albay.  The supplies are being distributed at evacuation and emergency centers by USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

"None of us can predict or prevent natural disasters, but we can stand together in humanitarian relief," U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney said at a presentation ceremony October 5 at the PNRC warehouse in Manila.

The ambassador congratulated Philippine Senator Richard Gordon, PNRC chairman, on his leadership of the relief agency and praised the efforts of "the tireless volunteers who staff, man, and run the Philippine Red Cross."

With this donation, the United States has contributed a total of $382,000 to the PNRC in 2006.

The Vietnamese government has reported 59 deaths in the region of the port city of Da Nang and neighboring provinces of Quang Nam, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Binh.  At least 15,000 houses have been destroyed and 244,000 damaged in floods stemming from the typhoon, disaster officials said.

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, announced October 6 that the United States will contribute $100,000 through OFDA to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support relief operations of the Red Cross of Vietnam.

"The people of the United States will never forget and remain grateful for Vietnam's response following Hurricane Katrina," the embassy said in a statement.  "We are proud to stand by the government of Vietnam in its relief efforts."

For additional information on U.S. humanitarian assistance efforts, see Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees.