With Christmas only three weeks away, Kaiser Permanente is trying to help bring light to the dark city of Tacloban. Kaiser Permanente has pledged a million dollars for Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts after the storm destroyed the city and has taken over 5,000 lives.
As crews work to restore the infrastructure to the dark city Kaiser is providing support to five nonprofit agencies for humanitarian relief and deployment of trained emergency volunteers following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan when it hit the islands on November 8, 2013.
Kaiser is making $200,000 immediately available to five organizations which includes support of the tremendous effort being made by the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Mercy Corps, Relief International and Team Rubicon.
"The devastation to many communities and the impact on people living in the Philippines have been profound, and our hearts go out to all of the people, the families affected by this typhoon," said Bernard J. Tyson, chief executive officer, Kaiser Permanente. "In addition to providing much needed support for immediate relief, we know there will be thousands of people who will need to have homes, farms and fishing businesses restored. Even more, we need to make sure their health-related needs are taken care of during the recovery and rebuilding period. That is why we have set aside funds for long-term recovery, when those specific needs are determined and the best ways to address them are clear," Tyson said.
Kaiser Permanente's workforce includes many physicians, nurses and logistics experts who are trained in disaster relief, several people with those skills have already left for the Philippines with the aid organizations with whom they are affiliated, to volunteer to serve in the affected areas. More than 250 physicians, nurses and other employees have volunteered to help with disaster relief.
"The response from Kaiser Permanente physicians, nurses and staff has been amazing," said Joshua Weil, MD, a Kaiser Permanente emergency physician and volunteer coordinator for Kaiser Permanente's Typhoon Haiyan disaster relief efforts. "Right now we do have some volunteers on the ground with folks from partnering aid organizations, trying to determine next steps. We know the area of Tacloban has limited food and no electricity; it's in such a terrible state that the Philippines government is making a major effort to evacuate everybody."
The effort to restore power after Typhoon Haiyan has been extensive and coordinated with the assistance of the United States and nations around the world. America responded because of the close historic and people-to-people ties between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.
“I would simply highlight that the U.S. Government’s response has been rapid, well-coordinated, and substantial. Our Embassy in Manila announced an initial $100,000 in assistance almost immediately, and USAID announced $20 million in humanitarian assistance a few days later, and an additional $10 million in humanitarian assistance on November 18. Including another $7 million in humanitarian assistance through the Defense Department, the combined U.S. government assistance being provided in response to the disaster is $37 million,” said Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs for the United States Department of State.
Carlos Jericho Petilla, the Philippines Department of Energy Secretary, said in a briefing that Tacloban City in Leyte province may have power services restored by Dec. 24 while other parts of Leyte as well as Eastern Samar may have to wait longer for transmission and distribution facilities to get back online. The American Red Cross is using solar power in their relief efforts; however, the city of Tacloban still faces a dark Christmas.
The total cost to restore power has been estimated at over 6.5 billion pesos.
To donate to the American Red Cross go to www.redcross.org.