Destroyer deployed to aid typhoon relief effort

The UK will deploy a Royal Navy warship and donate a total of £10m (€11.9m) to help the millions of people affected by the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, David Cameron has said.

Destroyer deployed to aid typhoon relief effort

The UK will deploy a Royal Navy warship and donate a total of £10m (€11.9m) to help the millions of people affected by the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, David Cameron has said.

The United Nations has released $25m in aid from the central emergency response fund to help with the recovery operation.

Gareth Crawford of Plan International has praised the worldwide aid response.

HMS Daring and her crew will provide humanitarian assistance and helicopter flights with its onboard Lynx.

The Type 45 destroyer carries equipment to make drinking water from seawater.

Britain will also deploy RAF military transport aircraft to aid recovery efforts in the wake of the storm that has left thousands dead.

At least one Boeing C-17 will move humanitarian aid and large equipment to where it is needed.

This latest support came as the Government pledged an additional £4m (€4.7m) of assistance, bringing the UK’s total contribution since the disaster struck to £10m (€11.9m).

About 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed, with the death toll expected to rise as rescuers reach remote areas after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the region four days ago.

The additional support will provide aid flights from the UK to Cebu in the eastern Philippines to deliver forklift trucks, cutting equipment, 4x4s and other kit to help clear and reopen runways and roads.

It will enable the delivery of life-saving supplies such as temporary shelters, blankets and water purification tablets to 300,000 people.

Buckets, soap and sanitary items will also be sent in a bid to prevent the spread of disease.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “The scenes of utter devastation in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan are shocking in their scale and we know that the survivors, especially vulnerable children and women, now face a grim and uncertain future.

“Britain is determined to stand by the Philippines and we have now pledged a total of £10 million to get 800,000 people the food, water and shelter they urgently need.”

Aid organisations warned they were being hampered by widespread devastation as Save the Children said it was helping survivors who were having to cope with the ”worst possible conditions”.

Lynette Lim, of Save the Children, said: ”We are working round the clock to offer the basic life essentials to the 4.3 million people we estimate are affected.

”We are witnessing the complete devastation of a city. In Tacloban everything is flattened. Bodies litter the street, many, many of which are children. From what I saw, two out of every five bodies was that of a child.

”Children are particularly vulnerable in disasters. We fear for how many children have been washed away in floods, crushed under falling buildings and injured by flying debris. Many are separated from their families amid the devastation, and all are in desperate need of food, water and shelter.”

Handicap International said it was sending a team of emergency specialists to support the organisation’s staff already working in the country. These specialists will help the most vulnerable individuals, such as people with disabilities, older people and children.

”The devastation is worse than in Bandah Aceh, Indonesia, following the 2004 tsunami,” said Edith van Wijngaarden, the charity’s programme director in the Philippines.

”I’m particularly worried about the most vulnerable individuals. When nothing is left standing and the local infrastructure has been destroyed, people with disabilities, older people and children are particularly vulnerable.”

Tim Harding, from England, said he was one of many foreigners who were volunteering at a Manila Red Cross centre.

Mr Harding said he had planned to have a holiday with his wife, who is originally from the Philippines, but it had instead become a volunteer mission.

”It’s good to see everyone getting on, doing a job where race, nationality, income level, nothing matters at all,” he said.

”There’s only one priority here and that’s to get together, get stuck in and do the greater good.”

Mr Harding said he would help wherever he could for the next few weeks, a mindset shared by other foreigners hailing from not only the UK, but elsewhere in Europe and the world.

”There’s a lot of panic going on here,” he said. ”Although we just got some good news a few minutes ago that a three-year-old child had actually been rescued in the debris at a place in Tacloban city. There was a big cheer that went up.”

[comment]A young survivor uses a plastic cover to protect him from rain as he passes by a damaged Boy Scout statue in Tacloban city.[/comment]

The islands of Leyte, Samar and the northern part of Cebu suffered the worst of the storm.

Ms Greening said NHS experts had been flown with shelter and water purification kits to hardest-hit Tacloban.

Bodies had reportedly been found hanging from trees and scattered on pavements in the seaside city. Many people were also buried in flattened buildings.

The Vatican has sent €119,000 to the storm-ravaged country while Pope Francis has led tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square in prayer for the victims.

The Philippines has Asia’s largest Catholic population.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox