Aid To Philippines, A state of national calamity has been declared in the Philippines as relief efforts get under way to ease the plight of thousands of victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which swept across the country on Friday.
There has been massive destruction and loss of life, with as many as 10,000 people thought to have died and thousands more left destitute and waiting for relief efforts to reach them.
What are the UK Government and aid agencies doing to help?
The Department for International Development has pledged urgent humanitarian support for as many as 500,000 people affected by the disaster and has activated the UK’s Rapid Response Facility, which provides emergency support via pre-approved organisations in the event of a humanitarian disaster overseas. This includes releasing £5m to partners on the ground so they can provide assistance such as including temporary shelter and access to clean water.
Alan Duncan: “It’s all hands on deck for what is turning out to be a massive catastrophe”
The UK is also donating shelter materials, such as plastic sheeting, and household items like kitchen sets and blankets from the UK’s stockpile of humanitarian items in Dubai – worth a further £600,000.
The government has sent three British humanitarian advisors, who arrived in the Philippines on Saturday. They are working with the agencies on the ground and the government of the Philippines to assess the scale of the need and advise on what the UK can do to help.
British Red Cross
The British Red Cross already had workers in the Philippines helping victims of the earthquake which struck the Bohol area last month. They have been redirected to help in the aftermath of the typhoon. Another team has flown out to the Philippines from the UK.
The organisation has contributed £100,000 to the relief effort and is appealing for more donations from the public.
It has sent a logistics deployment to Philippines capital Manila, which is being deployed to the badly hit area of Cebu, where the British Red Cross has a distribution hub. Already 280 cubic metres of relief materials have been sent to the area from Malaysia, including 10,000 tarpaulins, 20,000 jerry cans and 47,000 hygiene kits.
More supplies are due in Cebu from a Red Cross warehouse in Dubai on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, workers at the British Red Cross’s warehouse in Bristol will spend Tuesday loading logistical supplies such as computers, printers, forklift trucks, vehicles, as well as water purification and sanitation kits, tents and heavy duty kit, which will be flown out from Stansted airport on Thursday. A shelter expert will also be on the flight. A spokeswoman said: “It’s going to be a long operation. We’re setting up for months and years.”
Survivors who have fled their homes with nothing say they need essentials such as food and water
Oxfam has launched a £10m public appeal to raise money to help 500,000 people in the disaster zone. The money will be used for water tanks and latrines to ensure a safe water supply and toilets, as well as providing temporary shelter for people who have lost their homes.
The charity has already sent its rapid assessment teams to the affected areas of Samar, Leyte and northern Cabu to provide emergency supplies of water, sanitation and shelter. An aid shipment of water and sanitation equipment from the UK is expected to be dispatched within the next 48 hours.
Spokesman Graham Mackay said: “Our main concern is getting relief to the worst affected areas. Because communications are down the real extent of this horrific disaster is still not known.”
The charity says the most urgent needs are for food, water and shelter. Communities also need to have power and communications restored and roads need to be cleared so that aid can get through.
Save the Children
Thousands of children are in need of food and shelter
Save the Children has provisions stockpiled in a warehouse in Dubai. It is expecting to fly 40 tonnes of medical equipment, materials to build shelters, health and sanitation equipment to the disaster area on Wednesday morning, along with logistics experts and technicians to help with building. It also has assessment teams in the Philippines gathering information on the situation there and on what work needs to be done.
The charity will focus particularly on child protection, setting up child-friendly spaces, where children can play and attempting to deliver books so they can continue some form of learning since many schools have been destroyed. With many children separated from their families, it hopes to help them feel safer and less frightened on their own.
It has launched an appeal for money and estimates the cost of its efforts will be $30m (£18.7m).
Care International UK
Care International UK has a small team already on the ground in the coastal province of Leyte which has been badly affected. Two shelter experts flew out from the UK on Friday and are assessing what needs to be done. A spokeswoman said the charity hoped to help 30,000 families in the province – an estimated 150,000 people – by providing shelter, water and food, which it says are the most immediate needs. Its staff are sourcing supplies in the Philippines capital Manila including rice, cooking utensils and tarpaulins for shelter.
It has also launched a public appeal for money and hopes to raise $5m (£3.1m) globally to fund its operations.