Singapore President Tan presents $7m in donations for Typhoon Haiyan victims

Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam with Philippine Air Force Chief, Lieutenant General Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz on his arrival at the airport on his first state visit to Manila on April 2, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP  
Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam with Philippine Air Force Chief, Lieutenant General Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz on his arrival at the airport on his first state visit to Manila on April 2, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP  

President Tony Tan on Friday presented over $7 million in donations to partners of Singapore Red Cross that are helping relief and rehabilitation efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

"I hope that our contributions, which are but a small gesture of friendship and solidarity with the Filipino people, will make a difference in the lives of the communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan," said Dr Tan.

The donations are expected to help some 1.5 million Haiyan victims in central Philippines rebuild their lives, with projects slated for schools, health-care facilities, medical equipment and supplies, water and sanitation, and houses.

Mr Benjamin William, secretary general of the Singapore Red Cross, said: "We will ensure that the funds received from the people of Singapore are used in the most effective and impactful way.

"The outpouring of support is heartening, but we must remember that the work of rebuilding communities goes beyond fund-raising: It is a commitment that can stretch over years".

On Saturday, Dr Tan will visit Basey Hospital in Samar, one of the provinces devastated by Haiyan, to turn over medical equipment to health and local officials there.

Mr Richard Gordon, head of the Philippine Red Cross, told The Straits Times that six months after Typhoon Haiyan struck, reconstruction has yet to take off.

He disclosed that the Philippines is aiming to build 150,000 houses this year, adding that funding worth some US$300 million (S$379 million) has already been secured.

rdancel@sph.com.sg

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