Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss announced that his group is now “in discussion” with the Philippine government on how to provide a “long-term response” amid the ongoing relief operations after the devastation of typhoon Odette.
“Now we are in discussions with the government here – what should be long term response?” Fluss said during a televised interview on Monday, Dec. 27.
The Israeli diplomat also said that the Israeli Embassy has joined hands with Israeli civil society, which has already seen the devastation, to help in the relief efforts in heavily-affected areas in the country.
“There are already some Israeli NGOs (non-government organizations) that have started working here and then will stay here also for the long run and we are supporting them and we’re doing this in coordination between us at the embassy and the Israeli government and Israeli NGOs and civil society so we’ll be here to stay,” Fluss said.
When the Philippine government was racing to reach out to affected areas after the onslaught of the deadly typhoon, Israel was among the foreign countries that immediately sent help to typhoon victims.
Fluss said they sent some food, hygiene kits, rice and solar panels to create energy, water purification systems to Cebu, Bohol and Siargao.
“This was very important for us to show the sympathy and the close relations and we care about the Philippines and what is happening here,” the ambassador said. “We are now looking how to continue for the longer run we are going to continue working.”
On the medical side, Fluss further said that they are working with Philippine hospitals in rebuilding some of the medical facilities that were damaged by the typhoon.
He also encouraged Filipinos to “keep the spirit, keep strong and still mark-up challenging times in front of us” in dealing with the impacts of both the typhoon and the coronavirus pandemic.
“I hope and pray that the next year would be a better year. Israel is a partner, it’s a friend of the Philippines. Israeli people are friends of the Filipino people and we will continue with this partnership and friendship and work together for, hopefully, a better 2022 for all of us together,” Fluss said.