Telecoms operator Lebara donates £83,000 to UNHCR to provide support to victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
News Stories, 20 November 2013
UNHCR/ R. Rocamora The Abas family in front of their devastated home in badly hit Tanauan, in Leyte. The family patriarch was injured while trying to escape the storm surge.
Lebara has offered direct support and aid to the victims left devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines by donating €100,000 (£83,000) to UNHCR.
The generous donation will contribute to UNHCR’s immediate response, which includes ensuring that people have access to safe water, shelter and protection.
The number of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan is now an estimated 13 million, including some 3.9 million displaced (349,000 of them in 1,539 evacuation centres). Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes and more people are leaving the disaster-affected areas in search of aid, increasing the number of those displaced each day. Survivors who have been forced from their homes flee towards Manila and Cebu, many without provisions or any place to go. They urgently need tents, especially as rain has continued to fall in certain areas. To date, the UN Refugee Agency has distributed relief items to over 15,000 typhoon survivors in the Tanauan and Tacloban areas. Lebara's assistance will significantly help UNHCR expand its aid distribution and ensure the protection of those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
Being one of Europe’s leading telecoms operators for ethnic and migrant communities, Lebara recognises that this is also an uncertain time for many of their customers. To this end, in addition to their donation to the UNHCR, Lebara will match all call credit sent from its customers to their loved ones in the Philippines. This will enable Lebara to continue their support beyond the initial donation and allow customers to help their friends and family by sending call credit to maintain contact.
UNHCR is extremely grateful to Lebara for their support. "I was in Sri Lanka in 2004 when the Boxing Day tsunami hit and seen the legacy these disasters leave behind with my own eyes. They tear families apart in a matter of minutes. Lebara’s donation will help us to provide a dry shelter, a place where families can feel safe and reunite. We’re hoping it won’t be needed for long but what they will do is give devastated families the foundation from which they can rebuild their lives – a home." said Roland Schilling, UNHCR's representative in the United Kingdom.
Yoganathan Ratheesan, Chairman of Lebara Group, commented, “It is crucially important that we do all we can, as quickly as we can, to help victims. We hope our donation will help to limit further damage as we work on longer term initiatives, with our customers, to help safely re-build the community and protect vulnerable children and their families.”
The devastating impact will continue for years to come and Lebara aims to provide on-going support to the displaced children in the Philippines, where a large number of their customers have friends and family. This will be done via Lebara’s Foundation, through the provision of clean water, food, shelter and access to education.
Find out more about the Lebara Foundation at www.lebarafoundation.org