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Helicopter and commando carrier HMS Illustrious has arrived in the Philippines to begin to deliver humanitarian aid provided by the Department for International Development (DFID).
HMS Illustrious will take over from HMS Daring which has been distributing aid and assisting villagers in remote communities on islands to the north east of Panay for the past week.
The Type 45 destroyer has now handed the baton to her fellow Portsmouth-based warship while she sails on to Tokyo to continue with her regional engagement programme.
The Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, said:
HMS Illustrious has brought extra air support which can help unblock transport bottlenecks, an invaluable capability to provide drinking water and 500 tonnes of aid.
The UK has now given more than £55 million of support to the people of the Philippines to help them through this crisis. We will stay the course with the Philippines over the coming months and years as it rebuilds the shattered cities, towns and villages of the central islands.
The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:
The crew of HMS Daring have done a fantastic job in the Philippines and I am pleased that HMS Illustrious will be able to continue this good work by providing substantially increased helicopter capability, ensuring relief reaches all those stricken by Typhoon Haiyan.
I offer thanks to all of our service personnel who have been involved in the relief effort so far; their willingness to help and the enthusiasm with which they have approached the task is a credit to the Armed Forces and should make all of us very proud.
The Commanding Officer of HMS Daring, Commander Angus Essenhigh, said:
I am incredibly proud of my ship’s company – without their commitment, drive and determination to help we would not have achieved half of what we set out to do.
There are communities on islands that had been cut off from help since the typhoon that now have repaired fishing boats so they can recover their livelihoods, tarpaulins to give them shelter as they rebuild their homes, and fresh, clean drinking water.
It has been a privilege to assist the people of the Philippines and my ship’s company can be rightly pleased with the contribution HMS Daring has made; the rapid adaptability of a Royal Navy ship and her crew has once again been proven.
I’m sure HMS Illustrious will continue that good work on behalf of the Royal Navy, the British public and the UK government.
HMS Daring covered 42,200 square nautical miles and visited over 70 islands, providing villagers with 498 shelter kits, over 7.5 tonnes of drinking water and 223 kitchen sets, and repairing school roofs, generators and boat engines. Specialist sailors also built a desalination plant for a local well and gave medical aid in the shape of 14 medics deployed by DFID and the ship’s own doctor, Surgeon Lieutenant Sophie Butterworth.
HMS Illustrious is carrying around 500 tonnes of UK aid which includes 12,500 blankets, 20,000 candles, 30,000 rice bags, 9,800 tins of sardines, 8,100 tins of vegetables, 17,000 shelter kits, 1,000 jerry cans and 1,900 water carriers. She has 7 helicopters on board to help get the aid quickly into remote areas – 3 Sea King Mark 4s, 1 Merlin and 3 Army Lynx.
The carrier was around 6,000 nautical miles away in the Horn of Africa on counter-piracy operations as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group when she was retasked with the humanitarian aid operation.
Her Commanding Officer, Captain Mike Utley, said:
The speed at which we have reorganised ourselves from counter-piracy operations to humanitarian relief in a completely different part of the world is testament to the flexibility of the Royal Navy and the enthusiasm and dedication of my ship’s company.
We are fully prepared to be able to render whatever assistance is required to allow the people so very badly affected by Typhoon Haiyan to begin the process of recovery.
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Notes to Editors
HMS Illustrious is expected to conduct operations in the disaster area until early December at which point it is anticipated that infrastructure improvements will make it possible for the military assets operating in the area will be able to hand over to the Philippine authorities and civilian support organisations.
Telephone interviews with CO HMS Illustrious may be possible. To place bids please call the MOD Press Office on 0207 218 7907
So far the British Government has donated more than £55 million to get vital shelter, food, water and medicine directly to those that need it, with the help of charities on the ground. The British public has donated £57 million to the relief effort through the DEC appeal.