A San Francisco legislative committee today passed an ordinance that would allocate $150,000 in city funds for emergency aid to help communities in the Philippines, Samoa and Indonesia that have been devastated by recent natural disasters.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor Chris Daly, passed the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee by a 2-1 margin.

Late last month, the Philippines was hit by severe flooding from typhoons; Samoa by a major 8.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami; and Indonesia by an earthquake and mudslides. More than one thousand people were reported killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

“San Francisco has a tradition of reaching out, of helping out those in need, around the world,” Daly told the members of the committee. Daly acknowledged that the city is facing its own financial difficulties, but he also noted the city contributed $100,000 in aid to Nicaragua in 2007 for hurricane victims.

“I know that this is not easy, but I think that this is the right thing to do,” Daly said.
Supervisors John Avalos and Ross Mirkarimi voted for the ordinance, but Supervisor Carmen Chu voted against it. Chu said she was sympathetic to the plight of victims and their families in the Bay Area, but felt the city needed to focus its efforts “locally.”

If approved by the full board and the mayor, the money would be split equally for aid for the three countries.

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