Kiwi aid helps in Manila

  • 21/11/2015
Filipino typhoon victims in northern Manila, Philippines (AAP)
Filipino typhoon victims in northern Manila, Philippines (AAP)

By Sarah Robson

In the path of typhoons and straddling multiple earthquake fault lines, the threat of natural disaster is always looming for the Philippines.

The country's worst nightmares became a reality in 2013, when it was pounded by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded.

It left more than 6000 people dead and many more injured and homeless.

In its aftermath, the New Zealand government pledged $5 million to help fund a three-year disaster risk management project in partnership with the Philippines Red Cross.

That investment has gone towards upgrading eight warehouses throughout the country, equipping them with thousands of emergency supplies and training staff in logistics management.

While in Manila for the APEC summit, Prime Minister John Key opened the Mandaluyong Tower warehouse, which serves as a logistics hub for emergencies affecting the Philippines' capital, which has a population of 15 million.

Inside the vast warehouse there are shelves stacked with relief supplies, including hundreds of plastic blue water containers and "hygiene kits" - boxes individually packed with essential items like plastic plates, cooking pots and buckets.

Nearby, the Red Cross has a sophisticated operations centre from which its emergency responses are coordinated.

"As we know from the Christchurch earthquakes, from first-hard experience, when a big disaster occurs it's all hands on deck, it can be a very chaotic situation and having that information will save lives, lots of lives," Mr Key said at the warehouse opening yesterday (local time).

Some of the Kiwi-funded emergency supplies have already been put to good use - last month supplies were sent to north Luzon after it was affected by Typhoon Koppu.

There are also plans to build a ninth warehouse in Tacloban, one of the cities that was hardest-hit by Typhoon Haiyan.