Sunday, November 24, 2013

Assistance for Philippines Continues to Pour In from Freight and Logistics Community

Once Again a Disaster Sees the Industry Show its True Colours
Shipping News Feature

PHILIPPINES – As we pointed out in recent articles the freight and logistics community is always the quickest off the mark when it comes to responding to the great natural disasters of our time and in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan, and two weeks after the event the list of companies and organisations hurrying to donate and deliver aid gets ever longer, with many attending to the practicalities before releasing details of their activities. Container shipping operation K Line has donated around $50,000 via the Rayomar Outreach Foundation Inc. (ROFI), a charitable institution founded by Rayomar Group, K Line’s business partner in the Philippines, as well as to provide seafarers, their families, and students of maritime academies with financial support. So far this equates to about $200,000 in total.

ROFI is a charitable institution to support a livelihood, medical care and education, as well as to as to collect donation and to support volunteering activities and another charity which is actively involved in assisting victims of the Filipino disaster is the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), an agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It has emerged that fishermen and coastal communities make up more than half of the casualties in the Visayas, one of the main areas ravaged by the storm and the charity is targeting its aid at the seafaring community, particularly the affected fishing communities.

It is estimated that as many as 160,000 Filipino seafarers are directly affected by the typhoon and AoS’ port chaplains have come out in full force all around the globe to support the cause. AoS Dublin port chaplain Rose Kearney said volunteers were collecting and packing baby clothing to give to seafarers on-board their ships whilst Father Bruno Ciceri of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, which coordinates the activities of AoS worldwide, said AoS Manila is providing free accommodation to returning seafarers who need somewhere to stay while they trace their families turning the AoS centre in Cebu into a logistics hub.

Full commercial operations have now been resumed at the port of Tacloban which was closed for about 12 days after Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) and staff at the Ports Authority and International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) worked double time to restart operations at the port in order to prepare it as a relief hub. The company shipped forklift trucks, reach stackers and other cargo handling equipment to the port to ensure it was up and running as quickly as possible.

We have seen disaster response teams from Deutsche Post DHL travel to disaster sites in the past and this is again the case with a team located at the regional Mactan Cebu Airport to help manage the logistics of the inbound relief goods sent via air or sea by the international community and help ensure the quick and constant flow of goods to the people in need.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), over 10 million people are affected and more than 660,000 are displaced. Officials in Leyte Province are reporting that hundreds have died in Tacloban City in the most affected area alone. The region is still in desperate need of water, food, medicine, shelter, hygiene and sanitation.

DHL was not the only one of the big carriers with rival group FedEx opening up a special web link giving regular updates and providing useful links to sites accepting donations. FedEx have been flying in vital supplies including food, medicine and water purification equipment in a bid to minimise the effects of diseases which habitually arise in such terrible circumstances.

Photo: A Filipino child benefits from supplies brought in by the World Food Programme.