While we await all the facts from the most remote areas, it is already clear that Typhoon Yolanda is a devastating natural disaster. The warnings given to people to evacuate areas at risk undoubtedly saved many lives. But the storm is one of the biggest and most dangerous ever recorded and reports suggest the damage and loss of life is severe. On behalf of the Government and the people of the UK we offer our sincere condolences, support and friendship at this most trying time.
Yolanda is but the latest of a sequence of human and natural disasters to have hit the Philippines in recent months including floods in Mindanao and Luzon, the violence in Zamboanga and the earthquake in Bohol. Exceptional times require an exceptional response. In addition to the £4 million (276 million pesos) for the earlier emergency responses, Justine Greening, the UK’s Secretary for Overseas Development has today announced a further package of up to £ 6 million (414 million pesos) for the humanitarian response to Typhoon Yolanda.
Using the Department for International Development’s Rapid Response Facility so partners on the ground can provide crucial humanitarian aid for up to 500,000 people including temporary shelter and access to clean water;
Provision of urgently-needed shelter items such as plastic sheeting, and household items like kitchen sets and blankets from the stockpile of humanitarian items at the UK’s warehouse in Dubai;
An additional team of four humanitarian experts to join the three advisers already in country, helping to co-ordinate the international response, plus equipment to support them.
On confirming the humanitarian assistance, Justine Greening said:
My thoughts are with the people of the Philippines, and in particular with those who have lost loved ones.
Many thousands of people in remote, hard to reach communities have lost their homes and everything they own. They are living out in the open, exposed to the elements. The absolute priority must be to reach them with shelter and protection.
British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad added:
At this most difficult time we in the UK, including the large community of Filipinos who live and work in the UK, want to show our support and encouragement for all those helping the relief efforts. This includes countries from around the world who have already offered support for the emergency response. The speed and efficiency of action in the days ahead, led by the Philippine Government and the UN, can save lives and provide security and comfort to those affected.
(Filipino) Sa ngayong oras ng matinding pangangailangan, makakaasa ang Pilipinas sa UK. Gusto naming iparating ang aming pakikidalamhati sa mga nawalan ng mga kaibigan at mahal sa buhay. Tuloy ang aming pakikipag ugnayan sa inyong pamahalaan upang tumulong sa paglikas at pagligtas sa mga biktima ng bagyo. Tayo’y manalig at umasang malalagpasan din natin ang pagsubok na ito.