Mindef ready to provide assistance to the Philippines when Typhoon Hagupit hits

People take shelter in an evacuation centre after leaving their homes in Surigao city in the southern Philippines, where Typhoon Hagupit is expected to make landfall. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People take shelter in an evacuation centre after leaving their homes in Surigao city in the southern Philippines, where Typhoon Hagupit is expected to make landfall. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore is offering more help to the Philippines, in anticipation of Typhoon Hagupit, expected to make a landfall in the country in the next few days.

Permanent Secretary for Defence Chan Yeng Kit called his Philippine counterpart, Undersecretary for National Defense Honorio S. Azcueta on Saturday to inform him that the Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre stands ready to provide assistance. The centre was set up in September this year to be the main point of contact for military-to-military coordination in the region.

The Defence Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the centre is ready to deploy a needs assessment team of up to 10 officers to the Philippines to see how it can support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in coordinating military assistance from foreign militaries in the event that it is required.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force has sent an officer to the Philippines as part of a six-man Asean Emergency Rapid Assessment Team. Volunteers with different kinds of expertise from the Corporate Citizen Foundation have also gone to the Philippines to help with disaster relief assessment.

The typhoon was previously expected to make landfall on Saturday, but had weakened, according to the Philippine weather bureau Pagasa. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction said about 200,000 people had been evacuated in the central island province of Cebu alone.

Parts of the Philippines are still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, which hit in November 2013, and killed about 7,000 people. It was one of the biggest typhoons known to have made landfall anywhere.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg