UN chief calls for urgent help over Philippines crisis

  • 2013-11-14
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, RIGA

U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has called on the Latvians to offer a helping hand to the Philippines after one of history's fiercest storms struck the country.

Up to 10,000 people are dead and 11 million people affected after Typhoon Haiyan hit the country on Nov.8.

"There is utter devastation. People are desperate for food, water, shelter, supplies and information about their loved ones," Mr Ki-Moon said during a visit to Latvia on Thursday, Nov. 14

"I am especially concerned about the tens of thousands of people exposed to the elements. We are doing everything possible to rush assistance to those who need it. Now is the time for the international community to stand with the people of the Philippines. They are showing great courage and resilience, but they need our help – and they need it now and they need it fast."

The top diplomat praised Latvia's efforts and held talks with President Andris Berzins over Syria and Afghanistan.

He said:   "I especially commend Latvia for championing human rights, empowering women and gender equality.

He added:  "I commended the President on Latvia’s role as a trailblazer, transitioning to a vibrant, prosperous and democratic society in a few short decades. I encouraged him to continue to share Latvia’s successful experiences with other countries that are also at a defining moment in their history." 

Mr Ki-Moon will attend a Riga conference dedicated to celebrating Latvia's 95th birthday on Friday, Nov. 15.

He will also visit Estonia and Lithuania. 

Meanwhile, Aid agencies have launched urgent appeals to help raise funds towards relief efforts Philippines

Estonia has sent two experts and 150,000 euros of aid to the Philippines. Latvian and Lithuanian officials have expressed their condolences to the people of Philippines. 

For more information on how to donate to the rescue efforts visit www.redcross.org.ph.