Agencies pitch in to help Philippine relief efforts

Global PR agencies with offices in or near the Philippines are working to support employees and victims after a massive typhoon hit the country last week.

Global PR agencies with offices in or near the Philippines are working to support employees and victims after a massive typhoon hit the country last week.

Typhoon Haiyan, recorded as one of the strongest storms of the year with winds up to 147 mph, came ashore in the central Philippines last Friday, displacing nearly 600,000 people in the country and causing an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 deaths.

Edelman's Philippine affiliate EON, located in the capital of Manila, has activated its team to get involved in relief efforts, said Yaan Sarmiento, the agency's corporate affairs head, via email. Several EON staffers' families were affected by the storm, and team leaders are reaching out to other employees to see if they have been directly or indirectly impacted. Edelman has also worked with the World Food Programme to set up a website to help employees make donations to people in need. The firm will also provide up to $25,000 in matching funds.

Sarmiento said the agency has allocated funds for employee assistance and engaged staffers to voluntarily contribute portions of their salaries and holiday gift certificates to EON's relief efforts. The firm also cut down on costs for employee engagement and corporate affairs initiatives to add to the fund.

“It has been an alarming past few days for the Philippines, and the aid from all over the world proves the gravity of the situation at hand,” Sarmiento added.

The firm is also encouraging employees to donate goods, such as ready-to-eat food, basic medicines, clothes, toiletries, and survival gear, including flashlights and tents.

To make sure donations are reaching the right people, EON is partnering with a number of certified organizations, such as National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, the Management Association of the Philippines, and the Department of Health.

Ogilvy Philippines' offices in Manila was not in the direct path of the typhoon, and all its staffers are safe. However, several employees are still unable to get in touch with family members who live in affected areas.

In addition to staffers volunteering and packing supplies for storm victims, the rest of the Ogilvy Philippines network is gathering donations and contact information to help aid agencies.

All staff members in Weber Shandwick's Philippines office are safe and accounted for, said the agency's Asia-Pacific chairman, Tim Sutton, in an emailed statement.

“While our office is fully operational, we will certainly continue to support our colleagues in the Philippines in every way possible,” he added.

The firm's holding company, Interpublic Group, has made a donation to the American Red Cross Typhoon Appeal, and Weber has given funds to the Philippine Red Cross Super Typhoon Yolanda Campaign.

Weber employees around the world are also providing their own contributions to the disaster.

Havas Worldwide is launching a fund to raise money for the relief effort by matching every employee donation up to $50,000 up to a total of $100,000. The agency is kicking off the contribution period with a donation of $20,000; all gifts will go to Doctors Without Borders. 

A Ketchum representative said everyone at its Philippine affiliate, CID, is safe.

To support victims, a number of Ketchum employees have launched grassroots fundraising programs. One New York staffer who is a native of the Philippines is collecting donations for the Philippine Red Cross during the firm's weekly Friday drink cart.

Ketchum has also launched an agency-wide fundraising program for the Red Cross' Philippines relief efforts, where it will match any employee donation.

This story was updated on November 14 with additional information from Edelman.

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