Czechs join Philippine typhoon relief efforts

Tacloban, Philippines, November 11, 2013, photo: CTK

Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall on Friday, has affected more than 10 million people in the Philippines, with thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes. Humanitarian organizations in the Czech Republic began preparations to help the victims already over the weekend. A number of NGOS have released almost a million crowns in total from their emergency funds. We spoke to Radomír Špinka, the deputy director of ADRA Czech Republic, about how the organization will be aiding the international relief efforts.

Tacloban, Philippines, November 11, 2013, photo: CTK
“We have opened a public collection on Saturday evening, so that people can donate money for this situation in the Philippines and so far we have collected around 500,000 Czech crowns [approx. 25,000 US dollars], plus ADRA is releasing 100,000 Czech crowns. So, we are ready to send money to our partner ADRA Philippines.”

And how exactly will ADRA Philippines be using these funds?

“They are planning to focus on three sectors. One of the sectors is food, another is shelter – providing shelter for those who are without shelter right now – and the third is focusing on hygiene, latrines, showers and providing drinking water. These are the three area in which ADRA Philippines have decided to work in and the money will be used for any of them.”

From the information that you have right now from your colleagues over there, how accessible are the areas that have been affected by the typhoon?

Tacloban, Philippines, November 12, 2013, photo: CTK
“Access is really bad. As you may have heard in the news the communication networks were destroyed. So, the cell phone network is not working, there is no internet and also many roads are blocked by landslides and by debris. So, for example, they said that it took them around six hours to travel just 11 kilometers. So the communication and transport is very very limited right now.”

Will you continuing the public drive in the Czech Republic?

“Yes, we are planning to continue with the public collection through out bank account as well as through DMS – the SMS messages with which people can donate money as well. So, definitely we will give an opportunity to the people in the Czech Republic to participate in the relief efforts through ADRA.”

From your past experiences, how willing are Czechs to donate to causes like this and approximately how much can you expect to collect in order to help the victims in the Philippines?

“I must say that the Czech public is quite generous compared with some other countries. Always, if anything happens outside of the country or even during the floods in the Czech Republic, our people are always willing to contribute. And how much we will be able to collect is very difficult to say. So far we have been able to collect half a million in two days. It also very much depends on the media, for how long they will cover this event, so that people will see it on the news and see the needs over there. So, it probably depends.”

Tacloban, Philippines, November 11, 2013, photo: CTK
Will anyone from the Czech branch of ADRA be going over to the Philippines or Vietnam to help your colleagues there?

“It’s one of the possibilities. Right now, within the network, we have some other people from Germany, from New Zealand, some other countries, who are travelling there to assist ADRA Philippines. But after a few weeks they will need to be replaced and it’s possible that somebody from our office can come and assist.”