Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Briefing on Typhoon Haiyan Emergency

26 November 2013


Thank you Mr Chair, and Under Secretary General Amos for today’s briefing.

Australia expresses our sincere condolences to the people of the Philippines following the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan. We recognise that millions of people have been affected, and that the impacts of this humanitarian emergency will be felt for some time to come.

Australia is a close neighbour and friend of the Philippines and we have responded swiftly in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, providing AUD$30million to date to assist the Philippines meet critical needs including food, clean water, health care, shelter and logistics.

Australian personnel were among the first international teams to arrive in the worst affected areas. The 37 member Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) has been operating a field hospital at Tacloban airport since 16 November, treating over 1500 people, including major surgical cases. The second AUSMAT team is due to arrive in Tacloban tomorrow (Wednesday 27) to ensure continuity of services.

The Australian Defence Force has also deployed assets and over 380 personnel under Operation Philippines Assist, including HMAS Tobruk which arrived today bringing additional capability to provide clean water, clear roads and restore power to key infrastructure.

Australia remains committed to working with the Government of the Philippines and other international partners to ensure our assistance is consistent with the priorities of the Philippines Government and coordinated between partners, and stands ready to consider any further requests for assistance.

The Philippines has accepted Australia’s offer to provide two disaster recovery experts to work alongside the National Economic Development Authority team charged by President Aquino to formulate the country’s post-Typhoon recovery plan.

We recognise that this is the first time a Level 3 crisis has been declared in response to a natural disaster and are encouraged by the UN’s implementation of the L3 response to date.

We commend Under Secretary General Amos’ strong and consistent leadership during the response, and urge the UN family to continue this collaborative and coordinated approach as the response effort enters a recovery phase.

Finally, we welcome the development of terms of reference for a real time evaluation to be conducted within 90 days and look forward to further advice on this in due course.