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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

UPU calls for help re-establish postal services in the Philippines

13.12.2013 - The UPU is appealing to member countries to contribute to its Emergency and Solidarity Fund so postal services cut off by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines can be re-established.
Rubble of a post office in Tacloban
The Philippine Post reported suffering major damage to its infrastructure. "Post offices are destroyed, roofs torn off, vehicles out of service. We are asking for the UPU’s financial support in rebuilding our postal infrastructure and re-establishing our postal services,” says Mama S. Lalanto, PhlPost’s assistant postmaster general for operations.
The postal operator is still compiling an inventory of damage in South Luzon and Central, Eastern and Western Visayas, home to 192 postal facilities. Initial estimates place the property damage at 500,000 USD.
Once the inventory is complete, the UPU will help PhilPost put in place an emergency plan to re-establish postal activities.“With the funds collected, the UPU plans to concentrate its efforts on rebuilding the main post office in Tacloban, a city that was hit very hard and was, before the disaster, the transportation hub in the region,” says Abdel Ilah Bousseta, the UPU's director of development cooperation. “Donations will be used to rebuild the post office, and also to buy postal vehicles.”  
Postal solidarity
Some Posts have already stepped up. Three days after the typhoon, Deutsche Post DHL’s emergency response team was on the ground to provide logistical support at the Mactan Cebu Airport. The team set up a depot to facilitate the distribution of goods and supplies to victims.
The United States Postal Service has sent four satellite phones so postal employees in devastated areas can communicate with the authorities in Manila, according to Patrick Mendonca, chair of the UPU group on disaster risk management.
A team of postal workers from Manila has travelled to the areas of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and Aklan with basic supplies for the 600 postal workers in the regions affected.
According to the latest official figures, the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan has reached 5,632. Damage to crops and infrastructures is estimated at nearly 700 million USD.
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