Washington, DC - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) will hold a telephone town hall on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 6 pm PT for Filipino-Americans in the 14th Congressional District with concerns for relatives or friends affected by the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan, named Yolanda in the Philippines. She will be joined by representatives from the U.S. government and the Red Cross. Those who wish to participate can call 888-469-1573, pass code 1327680#.

“With one of the largest Filipino populations in my district, I want to give my constituents a place to get answers to questions and concerns they may have about finding relatives or helping the relief efforts.

“The United States will assist the Filipino people as they are suffering in the aftermath of the most powerful typhoon ever to hit earth. The proportions of this catastrophe that comes just three weeks after a devastating earthquake are overwhelming and it will take a sizable resource from the international community to rebuild the country. Almost 11 million people were affected by the storm, 792,000 were evacuated and almost 600,000 were displaced. The official death toll stands at 1,798, but authorities warn that the real number could reach 10,000.

“Nothing can ease the pain of those who have lost loved ones or are uncertain if their loved ones are alive, but we will not spare any efforts to help the survivors rebuild their lives. Haiyan has destroyed countless buildings and roads, but it hasn’t destroyed the spirit and resilience of the Filipino people. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.“

According to USAID, 80-90% of structures are damaged or destroyed. Tacloban and other coastal cities on the Eastern side of the island were the hardest hit areas. Many remote areas have not been surveyed because they remain inaccessible.  

The U. S. military has deployed assets and personnel to help the Philippine government with aerial reconnaissance, search and rescue and supplies and resources. Over 150 troops are on the ground. The USS George Washington has been ordered deployed and will arrive within a few days. Two KC-130 Hercules aircraft were deployed from Japan. Additional assets are on short notice for deployment depending on the level of need.

USAID is working with the Philippine government and international relief organizations to provide water, food and emergency shelter. It is estimated that 2.5 million survivors will need food assistance for the next six month. The U.S. government is providing $20 million in immediate aid, $10 million from USAID’s office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and $10 million for USAID’s Food for Peace (FFP) program. USAID/OFDA funds will go to emergency shelter and hygiene kits for 10,000 families. USAID/FFP and the World Food program expect 55 metric tons of nutrition to arrive on Thursday that will feed about 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for five days. One thousand metric tons of rice shipped from Sri Lanka is expected to arrive in early December and will feed 60,000 people for one month.

Individuals with questions can call the State Department at 888-407-4747 or visit www.state.gov. More information about the relief and military efforts is available at www.usaid.gov/haiyan and http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2013/1113_haiyan/.

Filipino-American constituents of the 14th Congressional District are invited to join the telephone town on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 6 pm PT. The call will be limited to the first 100 callers.

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