Ottawa will match donations from individual Canadians to help with the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, Canada's International Development Minister says.
Christian Paradis said Sunday that the government will set aside one dollar for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund for every dollar donated by Canadians between Nov. 9 and Dec. 8. The matching fund is in addition to the up to $5-million in disaster relief the government announced on Saturday.
The storm hit the Philippines on Friday, causing a series of landslides and cutting off power to several provinces. Local authorities said on Saturday that the typhoon caused an estimated 10,000 deaths, but communication with the affected areas has been difficult because of a widespread power outage in the region.
Mr. Paradis said the latest reports indicate that an estimated 9.5 million people have been affected by the typhoon in the Philippines, with more than 600,000 displaced. He added that the Philippine Red Cross has conservatively estimated a death toll of about 1,200 people, but "that number is expected to increase as more affected areas become accessible."
"The destruction from Typhoon Haiyan is alarming," Mr. Paradis said during a conference call with reporters on Sunday, adding that the government is still trying to determine what kind of help is needed. "The situation is evolving rapidly and we are making sure Canada stays on top of it."
Mr. Paradis said the money in the matching fund would be used to support relief efforts in the area. There is no cap on the total amount the federal government will provide, he said, although individual donations will only be matched up to $100,000.
For every dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities, the federal government will set aside one dollar for the typhoon relief fund. The fund will be used to provide help through international and Canadian humanitarian organizations.
A donation can be counted for the matching fund if it is monetary in nature and made to a registered Canadian charity that is receiving donations in response to the typhoon. Donations must also be specifically earmarked for typhoon relief.
The government will continue to monitor the situation in the Philippines and would "stand ready" to provide further aid if it is needed, Mr. Paradis said.
The federal government has set up phone numbers for Canadians looking for information on relatives and friends who may have been caught in the affected areas. They are 1-800-387-3124 or 613-996-8885.
With a report from The Canadian Press