Appeal to the Canadian Government to increase the federal financial aid for typhoon Haiyan victims

November 25, 2013
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Harper,
Re: Appeal to the Canadian Government to increase the federal financial aid for typhoon Haiyan relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction
As the Canada Coordinating Committee of the International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) we would like to reiterate a request we made on November 12 that the Canadian government increase its relief assistance and commit to provide additional aid for long term rehabilitation and reconstruction to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. As of today, the death toll from what has been called possibly the strongest storm in history reached 5,235 with a further 1,613 missing and at least 11.3 million people are reportedly affected.
We welcome the aid offered by the Canadian government, including an initial announcement to provide up to $5-million to assist with immediate humanitarian aid in the communities in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan, and a decision to match the money donated by individual Canadians until December 9.
This was followed by up to $5 million to cover the deployment of relief supplies to the hardest-hit regions of the Philippines and a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) which was deployed to the city of Iloilo.
We were disappointed to learn that a further announcement of $15 million in aid was in fact not new assistance but a re-announcement of money already allotted for the matching funds, to which individual Canadians had already donated $19.8 million on the day of your announcement.
We believe the Canadian government has the financial capacity and the responsibility to the people of the Philippines and to the dynamic and growing Filipino community in Canada to considerably raise its level of assistance, particularly for medium and long term rehabilitation and reconstruction. The 600,000 Canadians of Filipino descent along with other generous Canadians and Canadian organizations have responded quickly to mobilize resources to aid the affected communities. However, private funding from individuals and charitable organizations can scarcely meet the enormous resources required for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction, particularly in the medium and long term.
A substantial increase in aid from the Canadian government would be in line with the international commitments and Canada’s response to past disasters. The UN has launched a flash appeal for $301 million for typhoon Haiyan emergency relief efforts to cover an initial period of six months. Australia, with a Filipino population one third the size of Canada’s, has announced almost CAD$30 million in direct aid.
In past emergencies of this magnitude, Canada has been among the major donors of assistance. It gave $425 million to countries hit by the 2004 tsunami. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Canada immediately allocated $150.15 million for humanitarian and initial reconstruction efforts and another $400 million for the Haiti Action Plan.
We thus appeal to the Canadian Government to increase Canada’s direct financial aid for Typhoon Haiyan relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction, in addition to what it has already promised.
We ask that information about the assistance provided by the Canadian Government to the Philippine Government and non-government organizations be made public to ensure transparency and public accountability for the use of the funds.

Bern Jagunos
On behalf of the Canada Coordinating Committee - International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines
Email address: ichrpcanada@yahoo.com
Mailing address:  c/o Bern Jagunos, 211 St. Patrick St., #702,Toronto, ON M5T 2Y9

Hon. Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development
Hon. John  Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Helene Laverdierre, NDP critic, Int’l. Development and deputy critic, Foreign Affairs
Mr. Paul Dewar, NDP critic, Foreign Affairs
Mr. Wayne Marston, NDP critic, Int’l. Human Rights
Hon. Irwin Cotler, Liberal Party critic, Rights and Freedoms, International Justice
Mr. Marc Garneau, Liberal Party critic, Foreign Affairs and Int’l. Trade
Ms. Kristy Duncan, Liberal Party critic, Consular Affairs and Int’l Development
Mr. Tobias Enverga, Conservative Party Member of the Senate
Rev. Barry Naylor, Chair, Global Council of the International Coalition for Human
       Rights in the Philippines

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