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Seafarer unions aid typhoon relief efforts

Seafarer unions aid typhoon relief efforts
Maritime Unions in the Philippines are pooling resources to assist the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, moving and distributing aid, according to a report by the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF).

The Associated Maritime Officers’ and Seaman’s Union of the Phillipines (AMOSUP) is employing training ship Kapitan Felix Oca to ferry United Nations supplies into the country.

Meanwhile Philippine Seafarers Union (PSU) reports that many aspects of communications, government functions, and infrastructure has completely collapsed, and that it is one of the few organisations still operational, with many of its members coming in to aid rebuilding efforts despite having lost family.

Currently, PSU is undertaking an operation to collect emergency supplies in order to transport them, by ship, to the island of Leyte, where a number of its own members reside. The island, as well as has been almost entirely cut off, with no telephone communications available and no supplies of its own.

PSU presumes that its office in Tacloban has been destroyed and will use a sub-office in Ormoc as its base to distribute goods. The ITF reports that it is making an initial donation to cover the three days of work, and more donations will follow.

“Unions have taken up the challenge of providing the emergency aid that is needed following this disaster," said ITF president Paddy Crumlin. “Outside the country itself, one of the affected groups is Filipino seafarers who, like many of their countrymen and countrywomen, work abroad. For all of them communication with home is vital. We call on all shipping companies to assist with this burning need, and to identify those who have been directly affected by this tragedy.

“We ask them to help those who have lost family members with the provision of emergency compassionate leave, a guarantee that their jobs will not be put at risk if they need to return to their families, and to provide help with repatriation. Filipinos work worldwide, in many sectors, and we hope that in all of them they will receive the support and understanding they need, from employers, embassies and governments.”

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