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A Friend indeed to a Friend in Need
Swiss supports victims of tropical storm Sendong

Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Leslie J. Baja informed the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) dispatched a team comprising of four experts in water and sanitation and two logistic experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit to the storm devastated areas in Mindanao.

    SDC is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and is responsible for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation.

    In addition, the Swiss Government is providing a contribution in the form of technical material as well as in cash for up to Swiss Francs 300,000 Francs (approximately 14 million pesos) towards the ongoing emergency relief and rehabilitation efforts.  The Swiss relief assistance will be provided under the overall coordination of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

    Earlier, Swiss President Micheline Calmy Rey wrote a letter to President Aquino expressing sympathy to the victims of the calamity and assuring the Philippines of Swiss assistance.

    Relatedly, former Swiss policeman Thomas Kellenberger, founder of Island Kids Philippines based in Cagayan de Oro, reported that he and other volunteers are distributing free meals in the heavily hit parts of Cagayan de Oro.  Island Kids Philippines has been helping street children in that city.

    Switzerland has thus assisted the Philippines of up to Swiss Francs 2 million in humanitarian aid in the last 10 years.  During Ondoy in 2009, Switzerland gave a total of Swiss Francs 550,000 to the Philippines and built temporary shelters and schools in Laguna amounting to about Swiss Francs 1 million.

    The assistance of Switzerland to the Philippines during calamities demonstrates the strong partnership of the two countries as they celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the first Swiss consulate in Asia in Manila on 18 March 2012.

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