02 October 2009

From the Office of Ethnic Affairs to the New Zealand Philippine Community

I am writing on behalf of the Minister of Ethnic Affairs, the Hon. Pansy Wong, to express our sympathy and condolences to those who have been affected by the extensive flooding generated by tropical storm Ketsana which hit the northern Philippines on Saturday.

The Minister and members of the Office of Ethnic Affairs (OEA) are very conscious that the effects of this storm have left hundreds of thousands of people struggling to cope with displacement, and loss. We are conscious that members of the New Zealand Philippine community will also be under considerable stress as a result of the natural disaster which has so badly affected parts of their homeland. We know that many of you may have friends, and relatives living or visiting the Philippines and that you will be anxious for their safety and wellbeing.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be able to provide consular support to distressed New Zealand citizens of Philippine origin through its office in Manila. We will keep you informed of progress as decisions are made.

The Minister of Ethnic Affairs is very keen to support New Zealand agencies who may be responding to the disaster and to also support the New Zealand based Philippine community in any fund raising or support initiatives which may be underway.

Please do not hesitate to contact the OEA’s advisory team to discuss your needs and please keep us informed of progress within your community. If you have one spokesperson from your region or group please let us know his or her name and contact details so we can keep in touch.

Contact details for staff of the OEA are:

Senior Ethnic Affairs Advisor Asma Bashir, asma.bashir@dia.govt.nz 093627996, 027248957

Ethnic Affairs Advisor, Ara Kassabian, ara.kassabian@dia.govt.nz 044945787, 0272977143

Christchurch/South Island
Ethnic Affairs Advisor, Claire Phillips, Claire.phillips@dia.govt.nz 033538322, 0272062175

Kind Regards

Deborah Lam
National Operations Manager
Advisory Team
Office of Ethnic Affairs
Department of Internal Affairs
027 2795924 (Deborah.lam@dia.govt.nz)

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