Five hundred Husqvarna chainsaws have just arrived in the Philippines in early February. The donation is done to support UNHCR’s relief efforts in the aftermath of the Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines late 2013. The donation has a value of SEK 2.4 million.
The Typhoon Haiyan left more than 6,000 dead and affected an estimated 14 million people, of whom four million lost their homes. Shelter is still a major concern across affected areas and chainsaws will be distributed by the UN refugee agency UNHCR and its partners, so that fallen coconut trees can be converted to lumber to be used in rebuilding homes.
“The provision of chainsaws means that people, who have lost their houses, their jobs and maybe also family members, get a possibility to restart. They get equipment to clear the ground and re-build their own and their neighbors’ houses. We are proud that our products can support them moving from tents to houses,” says Brian Belanger, acting head of Asia/Pacific, Husqvarna Group.
“People in the Philippines are still in great need. Entire communities will benefit from this donation,” says Katinka Lindholm, National Director, Sverige för UNHCR.
In the Philippines, UNHCR Country Representative Bernard Kerblat agrees. “There are an estimated 33 million coconut trees damaged along the typhoon path. This is a huge devastation for the agricultural communities in Leyte and Eastern Samar. At least, the trees shall be used to construct buildings, this is when the chainsaws will come handy. The idea is to assist people to rebuild their lives so that they can leave the evacuation centers and move into homes of their own,” Kerblat explains.
Per local regulations in the Philippines, each of the chainsaws will be registered with the National Coconut Authority. After the clearance job is done, all chainsaws will be turned over to authorities – the police, fire department and/or local government units – as pre-positioned assets for next potential emergency response.
The donation is made via UNHCR’s Swedish fundraising organization Sverige för UNHCR and with this donation Husqvarna Group enters a 2014 partnership with Sverige för UNHCR.