ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh arrived in Tacloban City on November 22 where he conveyed the association’s full solidarity with the Filipino people and learned how ASEAN can better support the Government and the people of the Philippines in the relief and long-term recovery efforts.

“The devastation is massive but we know that the resilience of the people in this country is even greater. ASEAN will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippines in restoring hope and progress in these communities,” Minh said on his arrival in this typhoon-ravaged city.

In his capacity as ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, Secretary-General Minh led a symbolic hand-over of the initial 2,000 ASEAN family kits from the AHA Centre to Philippines’ Secretary of Social Welfare and Development Dinky Soliman and Secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas who are the top government officials spearheading the relief operations in affected areas. Each kit includes cooking supplies, clothing, sleeping, and hygiene supplies for a family of five.

Deputy Director of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Gen. Romeo Fajardo thanked Minh for ASEAN’s “very useful support”. He informed Minh that so far 51 percent of debris has been cleared and many roads are now accessible.

Secretary-General Minh met and expressed his gratitude to humanitarian responders from ASEAN who are providing a range of support to the relief and recovery operations. He also met the troops from Brunei who are providing critical logistical support. Further, Minh met with staff of the Office of Civil Defense in Tacloban who are now operating from a prefabricated office donated by ASEAN.

From Tacloban, Secretary-General Minh flew to Manila where he met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, briefing the latter on ASEAN's assistance thus far.-VNA