Philippines Typhoon Disaster

The Hon. PAUL GREEN [11.29 p.m.]: I dedicate this contribution to my daughter and her friend Eliza Becker, who came to the Parliament last week for work experience. They volunteered in my office and did a great job putting this adjournment speech together. The recent typhoon in the Philippines has killed thousands of people and left thousands more injured, homeless and pleading for help. As members are aware, typhoons are tropical storms that occur in the north-western region of the Pacific Ocean and they are ranked in categories from one to five. This typhoon was listed as category five and its wake of destruction left no-one in doubt that it was the most severe type of tropical storm.

The recent Philippines typhoon, which was named Haiyan, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall. Typhoon Haiyan was formed from an area of low pressure and on 8 November 2013, with wind speeds of up to 315 kilometres per hour, it devastated the Philippines. In less than 12 hours 11.10 inches of rain fell during the horrific storm. Approximately 11 million people were affected. Now people are becoming desperate and stories are emerging of armed robbers invading homes and taking food. Survivors who are desperate for food and medical supplies have ransacked aid convoys and gangs have been seen stealing consumer goods from small businesses. Governments and humanitarian groups are making every effort to get aid to the cities the typhoon ripped through. The United Nations has launched a $300 million appeal that will go towards food, health, sanitation, shelter, and debris removal. ABC South-East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel has described scenes of destruction. She said:

      Even to walk down the road is extremely difficult. You’re climbing over cars and buses that have been tossed by the wind and swept in by the storm surge.
        There are still bodies littering the sides of the roads that have not been collected. People are sheltering under whatever they can find. There’s a real sense of frustration among people because they don’t have enough food, they don’t have enough water.


The United States is sending aircraft carriers stocked with relief supplies and Britain is sending a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater. More than 2,000 Red Cross workers are in the Philippines to help people who have been affected, but demands on supplies are huge and there is fear that aid is not reaching the people who need it most. My daughter’s friend has family in the Philippines whom they have been unable to contact. We can only imagine the suffering people are experiencing while they do not know if their families are okay. That is just one example of how people from countries outside the Philippines are affected and saddened by the tragic event. Our heartfelt prayers are with Eliza’s family and all others who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Although there is nothing we could have done to stop the typhoon from occurring, we can help by donating money to relief organisations such as the Australian Red Cross, World Vision Australia and Oxfam Australia—just to name a few that are doing a fantastic job helping the suffering people of the Philippines. Tragedies like this will always occur in the world, but out of suffering and misery can flow great good, love, charity, aid and help. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. In conclusion, I thank my daughter Emma and her friend Eliza Becker for the contribution they made to my office last week and for writing this speech.

Last week in the House was tough in different ways, but I will remember for a lifetime the way in which my daughter responded to one of those situations. I thank the Nowra Christian School for its help in raising two fine students who are a credit to their school, to their communities and, most of all, to their families. I thank Dr Garry Gannell, the principal of Nowra Christian School, and his wife, Elizabeth, for the contribution they have made to the students and teachers. There is no doubt that Dr Gannell’s leadership and mentorship will serve the students and teachers well into the future. He has left a great legacy through his teaching career.