TORONTO – Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the federal government is trying to determine how it can help the Philippines in the wake of another typhoon that has hit the Asian country.
Oliver says a team is already heading to the Philippines to help Canadians on the ground there, while further assistance is available if needed.
He says federal officials are closely watching the situation and are in touch with the Red Cross and other groups in the Philippines to get a sense of the damage.
The storm slammed into the central Philippines’ east coast late Saturday, knocking out power and toppling trees in a region where 650,000 people have fled to safety.
Oliver told reporters in Toronto that another response team is getting ready for “rapid deployment” to help assess the typhoon’s impact and make recommendations on how Canada can help.
A massive typhoon also struck the Philippines last November, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.
During last year’s storm Ottawa matched public donations to relief efforts, an amount totalling about $90 million, Oliver said Saturday.
He said Canada is ready and willing to help the Philippines deal with the latest storm, but he couldn’t put a dollar figure on any aid because the extent of the damage isn’t known.
“The thoughts and prayers of Canadians are with those in the Philippines facing the onslaught of yet another typhoon,” Oliver said.