No Kiwis have been reported killed or injured by Typhoon Haiyan as New Zealand pledges $150,000 towards relief efforts in the storm-ravaged Philippines.
Authorities in the Philippines say the death toll from the massive typhoon, which flattened buildings and knocked out infrastructure, could be close to 10,000.
A spokesman for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said there were no reports that any of the 376 New Zealanders currently registered as being the Philippines had been killed or injured.
“All New Zealanders in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan are advised to follow any instructions issued by the local authorities and keep their family in New Zealand informed of their well-being,” MFAT said
They were also advised to register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on www.safetravel.govt.nz.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the Government had contributed $150,000 to the Red Cross to support immediate relief efforts in the wake of the typhoon.
He said the contribution would help the Red Cross maintain emergency supply stocks and carry out impact assessments in affected areas.
“Typhoon Haiyan was one of the largest storms on record and has had a major impact on the Philippines – a country that has recently been hit by successive natural disasters,” Mr McCully said.
“New Zealand will consider further support as the full extent of the damage becomes clear.”
The funding comes after the Government pledged $850,000 in aid to the Philippines, in response to last month’s earthquake and flooding.
Of that, $500,000 will be delivered by the charity Unicef.
Unicef NZ executive director Dennis McKinlay said a rapid assessment over the next few days would be critical to understanding the full extent of the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
“This will determine the damage to infrastructure and to local communities, many of whom will have fled to other areas and be in need of urgent assistance,” he said.
“As in any natural or man-made disaster, children are among those who suffer the most. We are deeply concerned about the number of children who could potentially have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan.”
Unicef said its resources in the Philippines were already stretched by the previous disasters, and it has called for urgent donations.
Oxfam has also deployed teams on the ground and was calling for donations to its disaster relief fund.
– Image / The most intense storm ever captured on satellite making landfall, 2 days ago / NOAA
– Story by NZ Herald