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Super typhoon hits the heart of seafaring

Super typhoon hits the heart of seafaring
The super typhoon that hit the Philippines, described by the country's president Benigno Aquino as a “national calamity”, have claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people and left more than a million homeless, and countless others are still missing. Natural disasters are, sadly, familiar scenes in the history of the Philippines. But another prominent fact about the Philippines is that the country is the world's largest supplier of international seafarers.

Being a part of the maritime industry, we see that Typhoon Haiyan has struck at the heart of the international seafarer community.

It is heartening to see tremendous efforts undertaken by seafarer charities like Sailors' Society in appealing for donations and shedding some light on the plight of Filipino seafarers whom are affected by the storm.

“Imagine being thousands of miles away when the storm hit. Imagine not knowing if your wife, your husband, your children or your parents made it out alive. A huge majority of the world's seafarers are Filipino, and had to face this nightmare. Stuck in foreign lands without communication facilities, many are still waiting to find out whether they will have a family and a home to go back to,” Sailor's Society said in an emergency appeal statement.

And it is even more heartening to see that donations have poured in for the Sailors' Society Typhoon Haiyan Relief Appeal. As at press time on 22 November, the appeal has raised ₤67,076.97 from 180 donations, since the storm whipped the Philippines on 8 November. The target amount is set at £100,000.

Separately, generous Japanese shipping firms NYK and MOL have donated $100,000 and $30,000 respectively toward emergency relief efforts. The shipping lines are also providing free transport of relief supplies by containerships to the central Philippines and to those directly affected by the typhoon. Both companies have also organised charity donation drives within the group to further raise funds.

Donations aside, the support and understanding of employers for Filipino seafarers is also much needed during this time, as urged by Philippine Seafarers Union, to offer emergency compassionate leave if needed.

On Friday, the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) has also appealed to all its members and its employees for monetary donations through the Singapore Red Cross Society. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with those who have been deeply affected by this tragedy, in particular the thousands of Filipino crew who are employed on our ships,” SSA said.

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