Call-back statement by Minister Paradis: Typhoon Haiyan

November 10, 2013

Good afternoon.

Thank you for joining us.

Canada is deeply concerned by the impact of Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this devastating storm.

The size and scope of this typhoon is unprecedented.

Experts have confirmed Haiyan as the biggest storm of the year.

And potentially, it is the biggest ever recorded in history.

It is the fourth typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.

And it is the third Category 5 typhoon to make landfall since 2010.

Since 1970, the Philippines has been hit by more tropical cyclones than any country, except for China.

The destruction from Typhoon Haiyan is alarming.

Canada is working with Canadian and international humanitarian partners to determine what assistance is required.

The situation is evolving rapidly.

And we are making sure Canada stays on top of it.

Canadian field staff on the ground are providing regular updates.

Since slamming into the Philippines on Friday, Typhoon Haiyan has set off landslides, knocking out power in several provinces.

This has cut communications in the country's central region of island provinces.

The typhoon is now on its way toward Vietnam, where it is expected to make landfall today.

The latest reports tell us that, so far, 9.5 million people have been affected in nine regions across the Philippines.

According to the Philippine Red Cross, at least 1,200 people have died.

And more than 600,000 people are displaced.

About three quarters of them are inside evacuation centres.

These numbers are expected to increase as more affected areas become accessible. 

Tacloban City is in dire need of:

  • water
  • hygiene and sanitation
  • food
  • medicines
  • shelter
  • debris clearance
  • logistics
  • communications

But access remains a major challenge.

To give you an example, round-trip travel on the 11-km road between Tacloban airport and the city centre currently takes six hours.

Canada is working with its partners and other donors to coordinate efforts on the ground.

This includes the United States, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

Yesterday, I announced that Canada will provide as much as $5 million in support to humanitarian organizations working in the Philippines and surrounding regions. 

Emergency relief activities will include the provision of:

  • emergency shelter
  • food
  • water
  • livelihood support
  • other essential services

In addition to this, Canada has provided support through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

This is providing immediate assistance to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Today, Canada has also set up the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund to meet the increased needs of affected populations.

And to encourage support for the appeals made by humanitarian organizations.

For every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities in response to the crisis in the Philippines, the government will set aside an additional dollar for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund.

Canadians are among the most compassionate and generous people in the world.

I know there are many Canadians of Filipino decent who are worried for their family and loved ones.

They are donating to aid agencies to help all those affected.

Our government is making sure their contributions can do more to ease the suffering of people in need or urgent assistance.

This money will be used to provide assistance through international and Canadian humanitarian organizations.

To increase effectiveness and results, we will employ established channels and procedures.

For more information on how to donate, Canadians can visit the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada website.

Or they can consult the list of registered Canadian charities on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Canada is also deploying the Interdepartmental Strategic Support Team to assess needs on the ground and identify potential response options, which could include the Disaster Assistance Response Team.

This storm has had a devastating impact on the people of the Philippines.

And sadly, it is not yet over.

In the coming days, we will continue to monitor the situation.

We will work with our partners to meet humanitarian needs.

And we will stand ready to provide further assistance if required.

I now welcome your questions.