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We understand that this storm – reported be the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on record – has caused especially severe damage and casualties on Samar Island and Leyte, where the governor estimates that at least 10,000 people have died in the city of Tacloban alone.
This catastrophe follows on the tragic effects of the terrible earthquake and other storms that have recently hit the Philippines. Our hearts and thoughts are with you and your families in this time of such unimaginable calamity.
We must continue to make it a priority to work together across our unions to pressure governments and the United Nations to increase investment in emergency services and skills training. Governments and UN agencies must involve public service workers, increase training, improve health and safety standards, and improve facilities, equipment and communications for the workers dealing with these calamities. We must coordinate services across borders – sharing knowledge and experiences to increase effectiveness and reduce human and economic costs.
From improving public facilities and infrastructures, enforcing building safety codes, to providing emergency rescue, healthcare, community support and disaster restoration services – quality public services are fundamental to saving lives and aiding communities to recover from disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan. Workers make our societies resilient and able to rebuild after extreme weather events which are more frequent and severe with climate change.
Further, PSI will contribute solidarity and recovery funds. And with this letter, we now call on other PSI affiliates to also contribute funds for the relief PSI members and the rebuilding of PSI unions and communities in the Philippines. Any contributions can be channelled through PSI, if affiliates so wish. Details on how this can be done are available on the PSI website.
Please convey our support and solidarity to all members, families and communities who are affected.
PSI General Secretary