Canada To Aid Typhoon-Struck Philippines
Canadian immigration authorities will expedite hundreds of visa applications from Filipinos recently displaced by Typhoon Haiyan.
Immigration officials released a statement last week relaying that Canadian visa officers are working overtime to assess Filipino visa applicants affected by the disaster. Additional resources have also been dedicated to Canadians in the Philippines who may require assistance from the Canadian consulate.
Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, stated that Canadian immigration offices have already identified numerous existing visa applications that merit immediate attention, however those numbers could still rise as more affected victims of the typhoon come forward.
“We are zeroing in on applications that involve people or families from the big island hit by the typhoon or smaller islands who have experienced this devastation,” Said Minister Alexander.
“Those individuals require help urgently because in many cases they’ve lost their homes and in some cases they’ve lost everything, including their livelihoods, and can benefit from the assistance of community and family here in Canada if we bring such cases to the front.”
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration also asked Canadians to aid in further identifying needy cases, to ensure the assistance offered by Canada is available to those who require it.
According to Minister Alexander, even before the disaster struck, the Philippines was projected to be one of the main source-countries for immigration to Canada in 2014. Canadian immigration previously upped the target projections for Canada’s live-in caregiver program to around 17,500 in an attempt to clear an existing backlog. Such an increase stands to benefit many Filipinos, who tend to represent a high number of live-in caregiver applicants.
Minister Alexander also stated he anticipates at least some Canadians will come forward with offers of adoption for children left orphaned as a result of the deadly disaster.
Almost 200 Canadian Forces members have been deployed to the Philippines, to aid in the removal of debris and protect humanitarian supplies.
Furthermore, Canada recently pledged an additional three military helicopters to aid in relief and rescue operations in the Philippines. Two CH-146 Griffon choppers were prepping for assignment last week in CFB Trenton, aboard a military cargo plane. Minister of Defence Rob Nicholson stated the helicopters will facilitate Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) — which is presently stationed in the Philippines. Men and women of the Canadian forces deployed to the Philippines have prioritized the procurement of safe drinking water in their disaster relief efforts.
In addition to military relief, the Canadian government has agreed to match all donations made by Canadians until December 8, 2013. Canadian officials are currently attempting to determine the number of Canadians stranded in the Philippines, as well as a total number of Canadian casualties.