Irish Government to provide €1m aid to Philippines

Monday 11 November 2013 07.07
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Haiphong disaster prevention centre in Vietnam immediately began an emergency response to evacuate residents while monitoring the water level around the city
Haiphong disaster prevention centre in Vietnam immediately began an emergency response to evacuate residents while monitoring the water level around the city
Residents walk past debris and an overturned jeepney in Tacloban City
Residents walk past debris and an overturned jeepney in Tacloban City
A resident covers his face with a mask as he rides past dead bodies littered along a road in Tacloban
A resident covers his face with a mask as he rides past dead bodies littered along a road in Tacloban
Residents carry a mattres taken from a hotel in Palo, eastern island of Leyte
Residents carry a mattres taken from a hotel in Palo, eastern island of Leyte
Residents walk through debris and victim's bodies in Tacloban City, Leyte province
Residents walk through debris and victim's bodies in Tacloban City, Leyte province
Affected residents wait in line for relief goods at a heavily damaged airport in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
Affected residents wait in line for relief goods at a heavily damaged airport in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
Residents cross a collapsed highway caused by the storm surge in Palo, eastern island of Leyte
Residents cross a collapsed highway caused by the storm surge in Palo, eastern island of Leyte

The Government has announced €1m in emergency funding towards the relief effort in the Philippines following the widespread destruction and loss of life caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the funding would go towards shelter, food, water and health.

Officials in the Philippines say as many as 10,000 people have died and nearly half a million others have been displaced by the storm.

Meanwhile, Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the northern Vietnamese city of Haiphong  shortly after shifting its direction to the north.
 
The typhoon, which was expected in southeast Vietnam's city of Thanh Hoa, suddenly shifted its direction early this morning and ravaged Haiphong shortly later with wind speeds of over 100kmph. 
 
The city disaster prevention centre immediately began an emergency response to evacuate residents while monitoring the water level around the city.

Vietnamese Vice Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai oversaw the rescue efforts.
 
About 4,200 ships have been docked in safe harbors.

To ensure safety, we are also looking after people who live in low-lying areas or in poor housing, as well as those living along the coast line.

So far, more than 23,500 residents have been evacuated to safety.
 
No official casualty count has yet been announced in Vietnam.

In the Philippines, Debris and damaged roads and communications are hampering efforts to bring relief to the disaster zones.

Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70% to 80% of the area in its path.

Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging sea water strewn with debris that many described as similar to a tsunami, which levelled houses and drowned hundreds of people.

The national government and disaster agency have not confirmed the latest estimate of deaths, a sharp increase from initial estimates yesterday of at least 1,000 killed.

"We had a meeting last night with the governor and the other officials. The governor said, based on their estimate, 10,000 died," Mr Soria said. "The devastation is so big."

Haiyan, a category five typhoon that churned through the Philippine archipelago in a straight line from east to west, with wind gusts of around 275kph, has weakened significantly before hitting northern Vietnam earlier today.

Leyte province's capital of Tacloban, with a population of 220,000, bore the brunt of Haiyan, which was possibly the strongest storm ever to make landfall.

The city and nearby villages as far as 1km from shore were flooded by the storm surge, leaving floating bodies and roads choked with debris from fallen trees, tangled power lines and flattened homes.

TV footage showed children clinging to rooftops for their lives.

City officials said they were struggling to retrieve bodies and send relief supplies to survivors.

They also reported widespread looting as authorities struggled to restore order and repair shattered communications.

The World Food Programme said it was airlifting 40 tonnes of high energy biscuits, enough to feed 120,000 people for a day, as well as emergency supplies and telecommunications equipment.

Ireland responds

Ireland is to provide €1m in funding to the Philippines through Irish NGOs for shelter, food, water and health.

Tents, blankets and other basic necessities, will be made available by Irish Aid and distributed in the Philippines through NGO Plan Ireland.

Ireland's Rapid Response Corps is also on standby to provide expert help to UN agencies operating on the ground.

In a statement Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said: "Ireland has strong bonds with the Filipino people through our missionaries and through the many Filipinos working in our hospitals and elsewhere in Ireland.

He said the funding and the emergency supplies will go towards those most at risk, as the crisis moves to the recovery stage.

More than 12,000 Filipinos live in Ireland and many have struggled to contact relatives in the aftermath of the storm.

Jaime Casilan who works as a cook in Walkinstown, Dublin told RTÉ News that five of his family are unaccounted for.

His brother, nieces and nephews were staying in one of the oldest towns in the Leyte province, Tanauan. Most neighbours in the coastal region evacuated their properties, but Mr Casilan said his family stayed on.

"My house is only five minutes from the open sea. I am very worried.

"I can't sleep thinking what happened my relatives."

Communications networks are down across the region so he has been unable to contact his family.

"If the house is gone you can rebuild the house, but if the human being is gone it's very sad" he said.