The House of Representatives said it would extend $100,000 in financial assistance as humanitarian aid to thousands of earthquake victims in Turkey, one of the first countries to come to the aid of the Philippines when super typhoon “Yolanda” flattened Leyte and many parts of Eastern Samar in 2013.
The funds will come from Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Initiative launched during his 59th birthday celebration on Nov. 14 last year.
Romualdez is set to turn over the $100,000 assistance to Turkey’s Ambassador to the Philippines Niyazi Evren Akyol and his wife Inddri Puspitarasi today (Monday) at his office at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City.
The Speaker said he was sincerely grateful to Turkey for helping Leyte and many parts of Eastern Samar in November 2013 when “Yolanda” flattened the region.
The typhoon’s death toll was placed at over 6,000, with many more missing, and thousands of families were dislocated.
“The assistance extended by Turkey, the United States, and our allies and friends abroad helped ease the pain and suffering of our people,” Romualdez said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, said more than 50Filipino families were evacuated to a shelter in the Turkish capital of Ankara, following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake. DFA Spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said 53 Filipinos, including their husbands and children, are sheltering in a dormitory in the Turkish capital, while 25 Filipinos have already received relief goods as of Feb. 11.
The Philippine Embassy in Ankara said “the number of Filipino families sheltered in Ankara” while kind-hearted Filipinos continue to share their own resources and time to augment the embassy efforts amid the disaster.
It also reiterated the embassy will continue to accommodate evacuees.
“We acknowledge that several intrepid Filipinos were able to escape danger on their own accord, through sheer will and the kindness of their Turkish friends and family. We reiterate that the doors of the embassy shelter are open for them,” the embassy said in a statement.
It also said that a Filipino and her children remain missing and were “feared to be still under the rubble” in Hatay City.
The embassy has sought assistance from search and rescue teams to find her and her children.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Humanitarian Contingent, through the direction of Turkish authorities, was assigned to conduct structure assessment on collapsed buildings and establish a satellite field hospital.
A team from the embassy is in Mersin, less than 100 kilometers to Adana and roughly 250 km to Hatay, to respond to the needs of Filipinos there.