UK charities launch Philippines typhoon appeal

Typhoon HaiyanUK aid charities have launched an appeal to help victims of the devastating Philippines typhoon.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said it was already responding but there was still a desperate need for water, food and emergency shelter.

It will make a televised appeal on Tuesday evening. Earlier David Cameron announced an increase in UK aid.

Typhoon Haiyan is feared to have killed up to 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

‘Desperate need’
The DEC, a group of 14 leading UK aid organisations, said the relief effort was being severely hampered by roads made impassable and airports closed by the typhoon.

“The destruction in Tacloban city, on the east coast, is said to be reminiscent of the Boxing Day tsunami,” the committee’s chief executive Saleh Saeed said.

“There is currently no food, water or electricity. We can only imagine how much worse the situation will be for families living in towns and remote villages.

“DEC members are doing all they can to get aid through but they need a huge injection of funds in order to do so. The priorities are getting food, water and shelter to people in desperate need.”

UK broadcasters the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, Channel 5 and other outlets will show the appeal following early evening news programmes.

The DEC comprises the charities Action Aid, Age International, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said there was a danger that if enough aid was not delivered quickly it would be pregnant women and children who missed out.

“All the organisations – Save the Children, Oxfam, all the others, the United Nations – are there ready to help,” he said.

“We need to land the planes, we need to offload them and then we need to get aid to people.”

National calamity
Meanwhile the UK government said it was increasing its aid to the country from £6m to £10m.

The money will pay for aid flights to Cebu in the east of the country, the delivery of temporary shelters, blankets and water purification tablets and sanitation equipment for 300k people.

Mr Cameron has also announced that the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Darling will soon head to the disaster zone from Singapore.

It would take five days to arrive but once in the Philippines brings engineering and first aid expertise as well as the use of a Lynx helicopter.

The ship also carries equipment to make drinking water from sea water.

American military aircraft and ships are being deployed to provide help. Aid is being flown into the only regional international airport at Cebu.

Among other states to have pledged aid are Australia, Aus$9m (£5.8m) and New Zealand, NZ$2.15m (£1.1m).

China, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, the US, Vietnam, European Commission and the UN have also announced support.

The aid effort comes after a state of “national calamity” was announced by Philippines President Benigno Aquino.

On Friday one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall struck the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar.

It then headed west, sweeping through six central Philippine islands.

Reports on Monday said 942 people had died in the typhoon’s aftermath, though it is clear the official death toll will rise significantly.

Some 660,000 people have been displaced, according to UN figures, among a total of 9.8 million affected – with many now struggling to survive without food, shelter or clean drinking water.

Source: BBC

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