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We are one family: UAE pledges aid for Taal volcano victims

A message of hope for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption is blowing in the wind, carried by the generous commitment of the UAE to help the Philippines during this time of calamity.
The UAE has announced that it will be sending a delegation from the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) to aid the displaced families whose homes have been ruined by the eruption and are continued to be under a great state of shock as the Alert Level 4 remains hoisted.
This immediate response follows the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, together with the monitoring of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, who vowed to support and help the country rise from the ashes once again.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Philippines after the eruption of the Taal volcano. We pray that these tough times are over with the least losses. The UAE stands in solidarity with the Philippines in these difficult times and is ready to provide all support and assistance,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, in a tweet that was also translated in Tagalog.
This message penned by His Highness the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince sent a wave of gratitude among Filipinos living and working in the UAE as well as those who are back home. It also sent a wave of message that encourages all people to lend a helping hand with the afflicted families of the volcano eruption.
Comprehensive Action Plan
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Hjayceelyn Quintana met with ERC Secretary-General Dr. Muhammad Atiq Al-Falahi together with ERC officials at the Emirates Red Crescent Headquarters in Abu Dhabi to discuss how both countries could streamline strategic operations on the upcoming humanitarian mission.
Ambassador Quintana likewise expressed gratitude for Dr. Al-Falahi and the UAE for their readiness to provide assistance to all the victims and for the continued support to the citizens of the Philippines especially during this situation. Ambassador Quintana said “Our Emirati brothers and sisters and ERC have always been there for us during difficult times”, recalling how the ERC has given assistance to the Philippines in the past when natural calamities strike, including Typhoon Haiyan.
Two-pronged aid
The ERC is preparing a strategic, two-pronged plan for their aid that marks the first help of the UAE towards the Philippines. First is to immediately send a delegation from the ERC to Manila who will be responsible for leading the country’s relief operations. The delegation will be tasked to acquire basic needs for the affected communities and supervise the aid delivery.
Next is to prepare and dispatch air relief missions that would carry supplies to areas that need it most.
Coordinated humanitarian response
ERC’s planned aid highlights the UAE’s dedication and drive to help people in need of assistance no matter where they are in the world. Dr. Al-Falahi stressed that ERC Chairman Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan is closely monitoring each step of the UAE’s relief plans, stating “His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan has directed the ERC to fulfill the needs of those affected and intensify its humanitarian response in the Philippines.”
In addition, the meeting between Ambassador Quintana and Dr. Al-Falahi also discussed how both parties will ensure a smooth flow of communication as they coordinate with the Philippine Red Cross and the UAE Embassy in Manila to ensure that the aid will reach as many affected families as possible.
The two sides agreed to continue working together so that Filipinos and Emiratis can contribute and donate, in kind or financially, through the facilities of ERC.
Dr. Al-Falahi emphasized that the wise leadership would like Filipinos in the UAE to know that, “We are one family, and that Emiratis are here to extend help to their families back home while they are here residing in UAE.”
Boxes of hope
In Dubai, the Bayanihan Festival organizing committee organized the ‘Tulong Para sa Taal’ drive last January 18 that oversaw 100 volunteers in a day of repacking goods. Adviser Josie Conlu confirmed to The Filipino Times that they have managed to fill 281 boxes that will soon be shipped back to the Philippines through the help of 16 members of the League of Freight Forwarders in the UAE.
Apart from this, several community groups and private individuals have also spearheaded their own aid drives for areas which were heavily hit by the impact of the ongoing Taal unrest. They hope to fill a number of boxes with donations of face masks (preferrably N95), hygiene and personal care products, used clothes, paper goods, blanket, first aid, and food.Filipino netizens applauded the move of the UAE led by the ERC. On the social media pages of The Filipino Times, Filipinos shared their gratitude to the UAE and its wise leadership for their humanitarian effort to help the calamity-stricken areas get back on its feet.
Current status
As of press time, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that Taal volcano remains on alert level 4, where an ‘imminent explosive eruption’ is likely expected within hours to days.
PHIVOLCS director Renato Solidum warned citizens not to return in any of the towns covered by the 14-kilometer danger zone and has reiterated their call for total evacuation as the eruption may occur in any of the 47 craters of the Taal volcano.
According to the provincial government of Batangas, the number of displaced residents has reached the one million mark, based on the population of residents living within the declared lockdown areas. This includes residents from Batangas, Laguna and Cavite.

Staff Report

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