13 November 2013 - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is now on its way to Iloilo, one of the typhoon-affected areas that has been underserved by humanitarian efforts.
Prime Minister Harper visited the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa on November 13 to sign the book of condolences for typhoon Haiyan victims and to convey in person to Philippine Ambassador to Canada Leslie Gatan and to the Filipino people the assurances of Canada’s support. “We will continue to do what we can to assist. I will be keeping in touch with my officials regularly to make sure that our programs of assistance on the ground are rolling out. All of your countrymen and women are very much in our thoughts and prayers. It’s not just all of our Filipino citizens who are very worried. All Canadians have been deeply touched by the terrible tragedy that has afflicted your country and rest assured that we will be there to assist,” the Prime Minister said.
On the same day, International Trade Minister Ed Fast also expressed his sympathies to the Filipino people. “May our friends and families who have been affected by this tragedy experience comfort and peace. God bless you as you begin to recover from this tragic loss of life and property,” Minister Fast wrote on the book of condolences. He was accompanied by Deputy Minister Daniel Jean representing Foreign Minister John Baird who was out of the country, and Ms. Evelyn Puxley, Director for Southeast Asia and Oceania Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).
Prime Minister Harper had earlier spoken by phone with President Benigno S. Aquino III conveying the deep sympathies to and full support of Canada for the Filipino people. In the wake of the typhoon, Canada immediately released CA$5 million in emergency relief funds for the Philippines and promptly put up the Typhoon Haiyan Matching Relief Fund to match dollar for dollar private donations of Canadian citizens. Canada has also dispatched its Strategic Support Team and deployed elements of the DART of the Canadian Armed Forces to aid the international relief effort for those impacted by the super typhoon in Iloilo.
Canada has also partnered with the Canadian Red Cross in deploying a 12-person medical team and emergency field hospital in support of the Philippine Red Cross’ own work along the typhoon’s path of destruction.
“I extend to you our gratitude for Canada’s extraordinary generosity. We are profoundly touched by the tremendous response from the Canadian government and pleased to share with you some good news from the ground, including the partial restoration of lines of communications and air transport,” Ambassador Gatan told Prime Minister Harper. END