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QRC to raise $2 million for Philippine typhoon victims

AILYN AGONIA

DOHA THE Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) aims to raise $2 million (QR8,539,503) for its relief campaign for the victims of Typhoon Washi (Sendong) in the Philippines.

The initiative in cooperation with the Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID) and the Philippine embassy was launched on Sunday.

The campaign ‘From Qatar to the Philippines’ intends to highlight the extent of the damage caused by the storm in order to mobilise voluntary contributions in the form of cash and in-kind donations.

Typhoon Washi hit northern and eastern regions of the Mindanao Island of the Philippines on December 15 and affected more than 211,506 people, claimed 1,096 lives and left hundreds injured. About 1,114 people are still missing.

The drive also aims to provide continued support to QRC’s disaster relief activities, which have been on-going since the beginning of the disaster.

QRC has already allocated $100,000 (QR365,000) and deployed its first batch of volunteers to the Southeast Asian country as part of its urgent intervention.

“With the help of the Qatar community, QRC can meet the needs of some 5,000 families who have been affected by Typhoon Washi. We will also send a special medical unit in cooperation with the Philippines Red Cross to continue providing life-saving medical care. We will do our best to make this campaign successful, ensuring that those affected will receive the relief they need,” Saleh al Mohannadi, executive director of QRC, said. He underlined that the campaign was a reflection of the good relations between Qatar and the Philippines.

Apart from the $2 million target fund to be raised, the QRC headquarters (located near old Movenpick Hotel) will be accepting specific in-kind donations, which represent the most needed items identified by field reports received by the Philippine National Red Cross, such as mosquito nets, bed sheets, blankets and plastic sheets. Kitchen sets (plastic bowl, tumblers, spoon and fork, 20 litres basin, small frying pan, ladles, plastic plates, family-size cooking pots) and cleaning kits (buckets, powdered soap, pairs of gloves, empty sacks, broomsticks and shovel) are also among the priority needs. Used/secondhand items will not be accepted.

Collection for the in-kind donations will continue till March 15.

“The Doha Centre for Interfaith Dialogue seeks to be a role model in achieving peaceful coexistence between the followers of different religions.

We see that the importance of this campaign lies in the need to emphasise the solidarity between followers of different religions, and responsibilities in contributing to overcome the problems that face humanity today. We are strongly convinced that such cases call for followers of all religions to progressively play an important and effective role in the service of humanity everywhere on the earth. Strengthening the solidarity between religions is required these days, more than ever before, it is time for practical steps in order to save human societies,” DICID Chairman Dr Ibrahim al Naimi said.

Kiosks will be set-up in malls in line with the campaign.

Monetary collections will be done at mosques during Friday prayers. QRC has 30 to 40 centres spread across the country where people can turn-over their monetary donations.

Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador HE Crescente Relacion expressed gratitude for the generosity of Qatar and praised the other fund-raising initiatives of Filipino organisations and religious groups.

He said that the Catholic Church in Qatar donated QR90,000 while evangelical churches raised QR30,000.

The embassy’s own initiative raised QR25,000 while Qatar Airways offered free air shipment for up to two tonnes of donated items.

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