Up to 150 Russians could be in calamity zone in Philippines; Emergencies Ministry ready to send in help

The Russian Emergency Situations' Ministry is planning to send 20 rescuers to the Philippines to render assistance in mitigating the impact of a powerful typhoon, if it receives a corresponding request, ministry spokesperson Irina Rossius has told the press. She said there could be Russians in the calamity zone.

"According to the Foreign Ministry and Rosturizm, there could be 110 to 150 Russians in the calamity zone in the Philippines. So far there has been no information about any casualties," she said.

Rossius said that six aircraft - four Ilyushin Il-76, one also Il-62 and one Antonov An-74 as well as 200 rescuers - members of Tsentrospas team, Lider center for high risk operations and the Siberian regional search and rescue team - have been alerted.

"They include six groups with trained dogs for search and rescue in the debris," she added.

Rossius said that the issue of response to the typhoon in the Philippines was mulled at a session of the working group of the ministry's National Crisis Management Center with the relevant authorities.

"Chief of the national center Viktor Yatsutsenko will fly to the Philippines to coordinate the effort, if need be," Rossius said.

She stressed that ministry rescuers have ample experience of mitigating such natural calamities and have all the necessary equipment for independent operations the calamity zone. "The typhoon caused massive destruction of buildings and infrastructure facilities. Communications are absent in the disaster zone. It is important in these conditions that rescuers could operate independently," she said.

In the first place tents should be sent to the Philippines to set up temporary accommodation for people who have lost their dwellings.

Typhoon Haiyan caused great damage to the coastal city of Tacloban which is the capital of Leyte province. The local authorities estimate that at least 10,000 people fell victim to the typhoon. Numerous buildings have been destroyed or badly damaged, traffic has been almost fully paralyzed which greatly hinders rescue efforts.

On Sunday President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to his Filipino colleague Benigno Aquino on the massive loss of life and destruction caused by the typhoon.

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