Good evening and thank you to IRD and the many co-sponsors of today’s event. We wholeheartedly support your continuing efforts to keep the needs of the many Filipinos affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the public eye still.
USAID has been partnering with the Philippines for more than 50 years and is committed to supporting the country’s efforts to emerge from Typhoon Haiyan stronger than ever and remain a vital economic and political partner for the United States.
We are at a critical place in our response efforts where we have pivoted from providing immediate relief to building long-term recovery. We are forging partnerships with the people and Government of the Philippines, the private sector, NGOs, faith-based communities and the diaspora to together help rebuild lives and livelihoods throughout the Philippines.
Just today in Manila during his visit to the Philippines, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new partnership coordinated through USAID with Proctor & Gamble and Coca Cola to get sari-sari stores – small, neighborhood convenience stores stocked with daily necessities -- back up and running and provide an immediate boost to the local economy. Sari-sari stores support livelihoods and they also provide access to critical items such as batteries, medical supplies and water.
The incredible resilience of the Filipino people to recover and rebuild has been inspiring. We are seeing a government and a community working hard to recover on their own with deep appreciation and gratitude for the international response supporting their efforts.
The four million strong Filipino American diaspora throughout the United States has played an especially critical role in responding and raising public awareness since the very start of these relief efforts. Throughout the many diaspora events we have attended, whether in the metro Washington DC area, Northern California or Chicago, we have been struck by the community’s incredible ability to mobilize and engage with us on where their energy can be strategically invested best. We are focused on continuing to engage the Filipino diaspora as part of a strategic, US government response and look forward to sharing more information on that in the coming months.
As we move forward with long-term recovery, one major focus of our work is assisting the Philippines in strengthening the resilience of communities to prepare for and mitigate ecological shocks, so that when disaster strikes, families are less likely to be pushed deeper into poverty.
For more than two decades, the U.S. has worked with the Government of Philippines to strengthen its disaster management system and response capabilities. We will continue working with the Philippines to help increase the capacity of vulnerable communities to withstand and recover from shocks and crises.
Finally, I’d like to mention how you can help. The best way to help those affected by disasters is to make a cash donation to reputable relief and charitable organizations working in the disaster zone. Please visit www.cidi.org for more information, and visit our website at www.usaid.gov to find out more about our continuing efforts on behalf of the American people. Thank you.
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Last updated: January 29, 2016