TACLOBAN CITY- New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan turned-over on Wednesday (December 14) of a warehouse intended for the storage of relief goods funded by his government.
The P12 million worth facility, located along Magsaysay Boulevard, is part of the commitment of the New Zealand government to help the recovery effort of the country in the aftermath of super typhoon “Yolanda” that hit the region on November 8, 2013.
Strachan said that the three-storey facility would help the Philippine Red Cross(PRC), the recipient of the warehouse, to hasten in the delivery of relief goods in case a disaster strikes the region, considered one of the areas in the country prone to natural disasters like typhoon.
“This will strengthen the capacity of the Philippine Red Cross to provide fast of relief response (during a calamity),” the ambassador said in an interview after he led in inauguration of the facility which will also serve as a training center on disaster response by the PRC.
Strachan said that his government is “committed” to help the Philippines and other Asean countries “mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
“Our support to the Philippine Red Cross is an example of our commitment to disaster risk management and humanitarian relief in the Philippines,” he added.
The New Zealand government was among the countries to immediately respond after Tacloban, ground zero of the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland.
It provided more than $5 million for relief operations with a Royal New Zealand Force C-130 loaded food and medical supplies to the city and also helped transport survivors to Manila.
Oscar Palabyab, secretary general of the PRC, said that they are happy that the New Zealand government extended assistance in building the warehouse.
He narrated that day after Tacloban was struck by Yolanda, their eight 10-wheeler trucks from Bicol were positioned outside the city due to lack of facility to store the relief goods.
But with the operation of their regional warehouse, they have now an area where they could preposition the relief items and could be easily delivered to an area hit by a disaster, Palabyab said.
Asked if his government will continue to provide assistance to the country despite of the human rights issues affecting the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Strachan said that both countries are “good neighbors” which provide assistance in case of a disaster.
He recalled that when his country was struck with a deadly earthquake in 2010, the Philippines was one of the countries that sent a rescue team.
There are more than 60,000 Filipinos who lives in New Zealand.