Disaster: Typhoon Haiyan: Appeal For £190m In Aid

(Typhoon Haiyan)

(Typhoon Haiyan)

Aid agencies have launched a joint emergency appeal to get food, water and shelter to the victims of a devastating typhoon in the Philippines.

The island nation is grappling with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, with thousands believed to be dead and shattered communications and transport links hampering relief efforts.

The United Nations estimates that $301m (£190m) will be needed in aid.

“We’ve just launched an action plan focusing on the areas of food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also protection of the most vulnerable with the government and I very much hope our donors will be generous,” humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told reporters in the capital Manila.

Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), made up of 14 aid charities, said its members were already responding to the crisis but the scale of the destruction meant there was “huge unmet need”.

The UK Government says it will match pound for pound public donations made to the charities for the first £5m – on top of the £10m the Government has already committed.

In the first 15 hours of the DEC appeal the British public donated more than £1.5m.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity. To raise such a huge amount of money in so little time … is quite staggering.”

The official death toll of the typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, stands at 1,774 people, but some estimates have put it as high as 10,000.

But Filipino President Benigno Aquino cast doubt on that figure.

“Ten thousand, I think, is too much. There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate,” he said.

“The figure right now I have is about 2,000, but this might still get higher.”

The UN said 673,000 people have lost their homes while a further 11.3 million could be affected after the typhoon, said to be the strongest ever to make landfall.

Authorities said they had evacuated 800,000 people ahead of the typhoon, but many evacuation centres proved to be no protection against the wind and rising water.

The Philippines has a long history of being lashed by deadly typhoons, although none as intense as Haiyan, which cut across a number of areas including Leyte, Samar and Cebu islands.

Sky’s Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay, who is in Cebu City, has said the “grim situation” there has not improved.

He said there has been a huge amount of destruction and that almost every building in the storm zone has been damaged.

People in Cebu are concerned they have been forgotten in favour of other areas hit by the typhoon, Ramsay said.

“We’re not seeing the massive aid that you would expect and hope to see by this stage,” he said.

“The relief situation isn’t really under way. There is a general feeling that the authorities have not taken control of this and it has all been chaotic.”

He said people have been begging along the roadside in the early hours of the morning.

“People are sleeping rough or anywhere they can,” he said.

There are also fears that another storm is due to hit.

“There’s concern that there is another weather front likely to hit the area with a lot of rain forecast in the next couple of days,” Ramsay said.

To the east of Cebu is the island of Leyte, where Sky’s Asia Correspondent Mark Stone said up to 20 people had been killed by falling bags of rice in the scramble to get to aid supplies from a warehouse.

Stone said he had travelled to the island with people who did not know if their family members were alive or not: “There’s no mobile phone network here, no way of communicating.”

Britain is deploying a Royal Navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft.

And the US is sending their aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, with 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft onboard.

:: To make a donation to the DEC Philippines Crisis Appeal visit  http://www.dec.org.uk , call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office or send a cheque.

You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.

So get texting folks.

Let’s help make the world safer by helping out those in need.

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