Irish aid for Philippines rises to €3m

Ireland is doubling its financial aid to the disaster-struck Philippines.

Development Minister Joe Costello said the Government is pledging an extra €1.6m to the international relief effort, bringing the Irish contribution to more than €3m.

He also called for better co-ordination between global donors to ensure those who need relief most get it as quickly as possible.

The money will be used by humanitarian agencies to provide shelter, food, water and health services to the 13m people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

“Ireland acted quickly to respond to Typhoon Haiyan, but as the magnitude of this disaster has become clear, it is all too apparent that further assistance is required,” said Mr Costello. “The situation is critical. Immediate threats to life include lack of safe drinking water, lack of shelter, trauma injuries, lack of sufficient food, lack of access to sanitation and personal hygiene.”

Last week, the Government dispatched 100 tonnes of emergency supplies to the Philippines.

It included nearly 600 tents, 700 tarpaulins, 10,000 blankets, and 880 ropes, which will be used to set up makeshift shelter for those struggling to survive the aftermath of the tragedy.

Mr Costello said there was a need for improved co-ordination among donors to ensure aid already delivered reaches the most needy as quickly as possible.

“The international community has learned many lessons from previous crises, such as the 2004 tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake,” he said.

“Ireland has supported subsequent efforts by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs to establish clear systems to allow the most effective, efficient and rapid delivery of aid possible. Ireland will continue to make every effort to ensure our response is timely and effective, and meets the most critical, immediate needs.”

Two members of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps have also been deployed to help UN relief teams in the Philippines.

Further deployments and airlifts are anticipated, the Government said.

Cardinal Seán Brady, head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, has called on people to reach out to those directly affected by the disaster.

“Perhaps you know some Filipino people who would appreciate a message of sympathy and encouragement right now,” he said.

“The pain of those who are suffering can be made more painful if the rest of the world goes on as usual and nobody appears to notice or care.

“Conversely, human suffering can be lessened by those who do notice and do their best to help.”

TV appeal

Niall Horan: Answering the call.

One Direction and stars from Downton Abbey and Strictly Come Dancing are to join a host of other celebrities supporting the Typhoon Haiyan charity appeal.

The boyband, including Mullingar’s Niall Horan, will launch a special celebrity telethon via Twitter, while a host of other stars will answer calls from people donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s emergency fund which has so far raised €40m for the humanitarian effort in the Philippines.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, comedian Stephen Merchant, and actors Alan Rickman, Joanne Froggatt, and Allen Leech will all be manning the lines at BT Tower from 4pm to 7pm today.

One Direction’s Liam Payne said: “The pictures I have seen of little children in between the ruins made my heart break. All of us in the band are shocked by how many people need help, so we’re asking the public to continue to be as generous as theypossibly can.”

Jamie Oliver said: “Families have been through the terrifying experience of the typhoon and now many face a daily struggle just to stay alive. I’m looking forward to answering the phones to the generous British public as we all do what we can to help.”

Downton Abbey star Froggatt said: “This appeal is so desperately needed. I’m happy to be able to help. The more money the DEC raises, the more people they will be able to reach with vital, life-saving aid. The Filipino people urgently need our help to get back on their feet.”


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