Saudi help on the way to Haiyan victims

Filipino expats express gratitude for the kingdom's $10 million typhoon-relief donation

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Filipino expats living in Saudi Arabia have expressed their gratitude after the kingdom’s Friday announcement that it will give $10 million in aid to victims of typhoon Haiyan which rocked the country last week.

Days after Haiyan hit the central parts of the Philippines, residents and officials in affected areas are still finding themselves stumbling on the road to recovery as the death toll reaches more than 4,000.

The Saudi pledge was well-received by the Philippines, according to a statement by Philippine ambassador to the kingdom, Ezzedin Tago, posted on the embassy’s website.

“I received a call [on Friday] from the Minister of Finance informing me about the donation, and seeking advice on the mode of transmittal of the amount so that it could reach those who need the humanitarian relief,” it read.

“On behalf of the president, the Filipino people, especially those in the kingdom, and those in the affected areas, we thank the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud for his generous contribution to the relief efforts for the Yolanda victims,” the statement added.

International assistance continues to pour in after the United Nations made a flash appeal in support of the typhoon’s victims.

“As always, Saudi Arabia stands in solidarity with the Philippines, especially in times of great calamities like what has hit our country right now,” Arthur Ocampo, a Filipino expat based in Dammam told Al Arabiya News.

“As we know, the Filipino OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) here in the kingdom contribute immensely to the economy of Saudi Arabia. (Such a donation) strengthens the common bond we both cultivated over the past four decades or more,” he added.

Ocampo, who has been working in Saudi Arabia for 23 years now, has also pledged his assistance, along with other Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, to relief efforts organized by the Philippine embassy and consulates in the kingdom.

For their part, many Saudis have been expressing their solidarity with the Philippines by posting support messages on social media and encouraging each other to donate more money in aid.

Aside from Saudi Arabia, the UAE on Sunday announced that it will donate $10 million towards recovery programs in the Philippines.

Typhoon survivors board a New Zealand C130 military cargo plane for evacuation at Tacloban airport on Nov. 16, 2013. (AFP)

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