Thailand speeds up sending aid to typhoon-ravaged Philippines


BANGKOK, Nov 13 – Thailand will dispatch personnel and medical supplies to the Philippines in the wake of that country’s severe mauling by deadly Super Typhoon Haiyan last week.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said local officials had overstated the loss of life, saying the toll was now closer to 2,000 or 2,500 than the 10,000 previously estimated.

Thai Defence Ministry spokesman Thanatip Sawangsaeng said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had sent a letter of condolence to the Philippines and expressed her concern to all Filipinos affected by the typhoon. Varied kinds of assistance were assigned to related agencies for prompt aid to the fellow ASEAN country.

A C-130 transport plane will carry a disaster assessment team and mobile hospital unit as well as sniffing dogs as the first phase of assistance to the Philippines, followed by a second phase where food, water and medical supplies along with other related equipment will be transported by ship.

The Royal Thai Army is supporting four C-130 planes in total to carry personnel and equipment to the typhoon-hit country.

Col Thanatip said the Foreign Ministry is holding a meeting tomorrow to further consider urgent humanitarian aid to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Army’s deputy spokesperson Col Sirichan Ngathong said Army Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha had sent a letter of condolence to the Army of the Philippines, while informing them that the Thai Army is willing to assist the Philippines with all possible matters required.

The Royal Thai Army will provide financial assistance at its headquarters to the fellow ASEAN country through its military attache to Thailand.

On a related matter, Minister of Public Health Pradit Sintavanarong said his ministry is sending a Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) of 15-17 personnel to the Philippines, including necessary medicines.

Mr Pradit said the MERT will be in the area for two weeks and can be operate as a mobile hospital.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) was assigned to supply saline solution, medicines and other medical supplies worth Bt20 million to provide to the Philippines.