November 9, 2013 6:29 pm
Updated: November 11, 2013 6:09 pm

Canadian charity works to help Typhoon Haiyan victims

A member of GlobalMedic helps to load supplies destined for the Philippines from their warehouse in Toronto.

Courtesy/GlobalMedic
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In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, a Canadian charity is rushing to help provide clean drinking water for those affected by the devastating storm.

GlobalMedic, a charity providing disaster relief around the world for over 15 years, has activated its rapid response unit to help in the relief effort and support those in affected areas.

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“We’re sending in 1.4 million water purification tablets, and we’re also sending an additional unit that can purify 38 litres of water a minute,” said Andrew Budziak, GlobalMedic emergency programs officer.

A team currently in the Philippines was activated Friday and began immediately working to provide clean drinking water.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Filipino community watching closely as super typhoon slams the Philippines

GlobalMedic has worked in the Philippines in the past helping with the relief efforts following Typhoons Bopha and Washi in 2012.

Budziak says providing clean drinking water is vital in preventing diseases from spreading quickly.

“We don’t want to see this disaster turn into a secondary disaster by people drinking dirty water. Clean drinking water means a clean bill of health,” he said. “We’re going to keep watching the situation, but it’s difficult because communication lines are down. And if required we’ll send in additional volunteers and supplies.”

GlobalMedic is part of a larger relief effort spearheaded by the Philippine Red Cross.

On Friday 125,000 families were preemptively evacuated ahead of Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall five times in the provinces Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Illoilo.

At least 151 people are confirmed dead, and officials in the typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city in the central Philippines say the death toll there could climb to 10,000 people.

The Canadian Red Cross has begun accepting donations to help those affected by Haiyan, and is currently on stand-by with personnel and supplies, including a field hospital, ready to be deployed if needed.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has set up a hotline for anyone in the country needing urgent consular assistance.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird tweeted on Saturday that he has spoken to the Filipino ambassador to Canada to offer the sympathy of Canadians. Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement Saturday expressing condolences to those who have lost loved one in Typhoon Haiyan.

“Canada is standing by to offer any possible assistance to the Philippines in responding to this emergency. Our officials in Ottawa and at our mission in Manila continue to closely monitor the situation, and remain in contact with relevant local officials and humanitarian partners,” said Harper in a statement.

Canadians needing urgent consular help following Typhoon Haiyan can email sos@international.gc.ca or call collect 613-996-8885.

 Canadians wishing to help those affected by this storm are encouraged to make a financial donation online at redcross.ca/typhoon, or at their local Red Cross office or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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