BRITISH aid worth £15 million has finally reached the disaster struck Philippines as Wearsiders continue to support the relief effort.
The UK’s first flight delivering 8,836 shelter kits from Government stores in Dubai landed in the city of Cebu and was met by Department of International Development (DFID) humanitarian workers.
A DFID spokesman said it is the first of several UK-funded humanitarian flights scheduled, which will enable the delivery of life-saving supplies to 300,000 people.
In just 24 hours, the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal has also raised £13 million.
The funds will help more than 11 million people affected by Typhoon Haiyan, the Disasters Emergency Committee has said.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “UK humanitarian aid is now on the ground to be distributed urgently to the people who need it.
“It will be followed rapidly by other basics like food and water purification kits, and the equipment needed to clear the way to get that aid to hard-to-reach communities.”
It comes after Ms Greening agreed with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) that the first £5 million donated by members of the public to the appeal will be matched by the Government.
The Government had already committed £10 million in aid.
Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring had just begun Exercise Bersama Lima when it was retasked to join the relief effort.
Its commanding officer, Commander Angus Essenhigh, said: “The speed at which we have reorganised ourselves to prepare to help those in such desperate need in the Philippines demonstrates the flexibility of the Royal Navy and the high standards of my team on board.
“We are fully prepared to assist with the aid effort having been trained in disaster relief shortly before we deployed and are ready to put those skills to good use.”
Two Sunderland holidaymakers who have been contributing to the relief effort in the capital city of Manila, have finally reached their family members in other affected areas of the country.
Tim Harding, of Fulwell, and wife Chona Marie Harding, originally from the Philippines, said images family and friends shared with them from the worst hit areas of the republic were “cataclysmic.”
“They were sent from those in the affected areas of Ormoc city and Tacloban city, in the province of Leyte,” said Tim, 42.
“Dead bodies hanging from trees. It’s worse than anything I’ve seen in my life, and I’m a strong person.”
Tim, who works for HP Europe, said: “Family and friends are all safe and well, which is good.
“Now spending a few days with family and friends until travelling to Aklan Island on Monday with Cebu Pacific Airlines.”
Commercial flights had been severely affected, and it took Tim and Chona 33 hours to travel to Manila, which escaped the worst of Typhoon Haiyan.
The couple have been working with the Philippine Red Cross to package relief parcels, and offered their services to the British Embassy.