First UK aid arrives in the Philippines
A chartered Boeing 777 carrying 8,836 shelter kits from UK Government stores in Dubai landed in the city of Cebu in the middle of the night local time and was met by Department for International Development (DFID) humanitarian workers.
It comes ahead of DFID-funded food, water, medicines and other supplies to be delivered by NGO partners over the coming days and weeks.
The shelter kits consist of plastic sheeting, rope and rope tensioners, and each one will keep a family of five sheltered from the elements. The kits will now be delivered to NGO partner World Vision for distribution in the worst-affected areas of the Philippines.
This is just the first of several UK-funded humanitarian flights scheduled to fly from both Dubai and the UK in the coming days as part of the UK’s response to Typhoon Haiyan.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “UK humanitarian aid is now on the ground to be distributed urgently to the people who need it. It will be followed rapidly by other basics like food and water purification kits, and the equipment needed to clear the way to get that aid to hard to reach communities.”
The total UK response to the typhoon stands at up to £15m, following the announcement that the Government will match-fund up to £5m of the DEC appeal. The UK has also deployed HMS Daring to support aid efforts.
The Scottish Government will also come to the aid of the stricken islanders through a £600,000 commitment to the Disasters Emergency Commitee appeal.
Making the announcement yesterday, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The devastating pictures from the Philippines can’t fail to touch the hearts of all who see them. The Scottish Cabinet discussed the situation this morning and today we are pledging a donation of £600,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee in Scotland’s Philippines Typhoon Appeal.
“This is one of the biggest disasters in many years – and indeed is reminiscent of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in terms of the scale of the devastation caused. We are in touch with Scotland’s aid agencies who inform us that with reports still coming in from more remote areas that the numbers of people affected may well rise further.
“The Scottish Government funding will help our aid agencies support those affected including through the supply of clean water and medical supplies – essential if we are to avoid disease getting hold and making a tragic situation even worse.
“As well as the Scottish Government’s donation I urge the people of Scotland to dig deep to help support our aid agencies responding to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.”
Chair of the Disasters Emergency Committee in Scotland, Norman McKinley, said, “DEC members are doing all they can to get aid through but we urgently need help to minimise the suffering and reach people as quickly as we can. The priorities are getting food, water and shelter to people in desperate need. We also greatly welcome the Scottish Government’s support today, which will enable us to make a huge difference to so many people who have lost everything overnight”