Husqvarna donated 500 chain saws to support the relief efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN refugee agency, in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines in late 2013.
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 chain saws will be distributed by UNHCR and its partners, so that fallen coconut trees can be converted to lumber to be used in rebuilding homes.
“The provision of chain saws means that people, who have lost their houses, their jobs and maybe also family members, get a possibility to restart,” said Brian Belanger, acting head of Asia/Pacific, Husqvarna Group. “They get equipment to clear the ground and rebuild their own and their neighbors’ houses. We are proud that our products can support them moving from tents to houses.”
“People in the Philippines are still in great need,” added Katinka Lindholm, national director, Sverige för UNHCR, the Swedish fundraising organization for UNHCR. “Entire communities will benefit from this donation.”
In the Philippines, UNHCR Country Representative Bernard Kerblat agreed. “There are an estimated 33-million coconut trees damaged along the typhoon path,” he said. “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 chain saws 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.”
Per local regulations in the Philippines, each of the chain saws will be registered with the National Coconut Authority. After the clearance job is done, all chain saws will be turned over to authorities — the police, fire department and/or local government units — as pre-positioned assets for the next potential emergency response.
The donation is made via Sverige för UNHCR, and with the donation, Husqvarna Group entered a 2014 partnership with Sverige för UNHCR.