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Cablegate: Death Toll Rises As Manila Dries Out From Tropical

VZCZCXRO6677
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2056/01 2720829
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290829Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5302
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHOVQHS/COMSEVENTHFLT IMMEDIATE
INFO RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 2287
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0311
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEHRO/USMISSION UN ROME IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002056

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

BANGKOK FOR USAID /OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR A. DWYER
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA R. THAYER
USAID W/ FOR ANE/AA AND DCHA/FPP
GENEVA FOR N. KYLOH
USUN FOR OFDA REP
BRUSSELS FOR P. BROWN
ROME FOR USAID/OHA H. SPANOS
SECDEF FOR SOLIC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR J3/J4/J5
PACOM FOR J3/J4/J5
NSC FOR P. MARCHAM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SOCI PREL KPAO SENV EAGR RP
SUBJECT: DEATH TOLL RISES AS MANILA DRIES OUT FROM TROPICAL
STORM ONDOY

REFTELS: A) Manila 2049 B) Manila 2046

1. (U) The death toll from tropical storm Ondoy (international
name Ketsana) climbed to 240 as of Tuesday September 29 as
Metro Manila and 27 surrounding provinces dig out from the mud
and debris deposited by the storm's record breaking rains and
flooding. The Philippines' National Disaster Coordinating
Council (NDCC) reports 1.8 million people affected, with more
than 12,000 rescued, nearly 375,000 persons in evacuation
centers, and an additional 235,000 displaced persons not in
government shelters. Philippines Secretary of National
Defense Gilbert Teodoro estimated that 1.4 billion pesos
(approx. USD 30 million) worth of damage has been incurred.
As rescue operations wind down and relief efforts gear up,
overwhelmed officials are concentrating on providing potable
water, food, shelter and preventing disease for those
affected.

---------------
U.S. Assistance
---------------

2. (SBU) As floodwaters receded and rescue operations ceased,
personnel and equipment of the U.S. Joint Special Operations
Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) returned to the southern
Philippines. The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) will
receive funding of USD 100,000 from USAID'S Office of U.S.
Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) by COB September 29. The
PNRC's initial purchases are expected to consist of non-food
relief supplies such as blankets, hygiene kits and water
purification kits. (reftel A).

---------------------------------
Embassy Chancery Back in Business
---------------------------------

3. (SBU) Although still running on generator power and without
potable water, the Embassy Chancery building reopened for
business on September 29. Post has limited or no classified
communications. The flood-damaged water treatment plant has
been repaired, and potable water will be restored as soon as
medical tests confirm safety (24-48 hours). The Chancery will
be reconnected to the commercial grid at COB today. Some 40
locally employed staff were heavily impacted by the flooding
and the residences of 10 American direct-hire families
suffered flood damage. Administrative leave has been
authorized for those severely affected.

4. (SBU) The Consular Section has received inquiries on behalf
of 56 American citizens believed to be stranded in various
flood-stricken areas. Staff has located and confirmed the
well-being of 36 of these individuals, while 20 Americans
remain unaccounted for. The majority of the latter are
believed to be in the hard hit Cainta, Rizal area, much of
which is still under water. Staff has provided information on
the missing Americans to the relevant local authorities and
continues to follow up with them. The Consular Section is open
for full services and has made arrangements to accommodate all
visa applicants who were scheduled for appointments on
September 28.

----------
Next Steps
----------

5. (SBU) The Country Team, working closely with OFDA,
continues to coordinate with the Government of the Philippines
to facilitate disaster response operations. On September 29,
Post received a formal request for U.S. assistance from the
Philippine Government. A copy of the request, signed by

MANILA 00002056 002 OF 002


Gilberto Teodoro -- Secretary of National Defense and Chairman
of the National Disaster Coordinating Council -- has been sent
by e-mail to EAP/MTS. Post is working with Washington to
request authorization for U.S. Department of Defense and U.S.
Military Forces to provide humanitarian assistance and
disaster relief. The specific needs from the U.S. Department
of Defense are transportation, road clearance/debris removal,
medical support, food, non-food items, and supplies to
facilitate the Philippine Government's response to the
flooding. Post proposes that the majority of DOD support be
provided by forces already planning to be in the Philippines
for the Talon Vision/PHIBLEX (Philippines Bilateral Exercise)
exercise.

6. (SBU) Post is also in the process of requesting
authorization for the use of up to $4 million from the
Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA)
account. The funds would be used to procure local building
materials, medical supplies, and necessary incidentals to
support the Tropical Storm Ketsana/Ondoy relief and
rehabilitation effort.


-------
Comment
-------

7. (SBU) As the scope of the current disaster continues to
unfold, we remain in close contact with our Philippine
counterparts to help however we can. The Philippine
government and an energetic civil society have mobilized to
help citizens cope with this disaster, but not always
effectively. Looming to the east is another tropical storm,
and a tropical depression that could arrive in Philippine
territory within the next few days.

Kenney

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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