UK sends support for 500,000 people
MANILA, Philippines – The United Kingdom has activated its Rapid Response Facility (RRF) capable of providing aid to 500,000 people who have been severely affected by super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).
“Many thousands of people in remote, hard to reach communities have lost their homes and everything they own. They are living in the open and completely exposed to the elements,” UK Department for International Development (DFID) Secretary Justine Greening said in a statement.
“The absolute priority must be to reach them with shelter and protection as soon as possible,” she said.
The UK RRF, established March 2012, provides emergency supplies in the event of disasters through accredited aid organizations as well as private businesses. It has support funds of up to £5 million for its partners on the ground.
Three British advisors are already in the country to quickly assess what resources are urgently needed and the areas that are worst hit. An additional team of four “humanitarian experts” is already on the way.
“My thoughts are with the people of the Philippines, in particular those who have lost loved ones. UK support is now underway,” Greening said.
“UK support will provide urgently needed access to clean water, shelter, household items and blankets. We are also sending additional humanitarian experts from the UK to work with the DFID team and international agencies, including ensuring partners are prioritizing the protection of vulnerable girls and women,” she said.
The 600 kilometer wide super typhoon Yolanda, regarded by meteorologists worldwide as the strongest typhoon ever recorded, wreaked havoc across a large part of the country in the Visayas region.
Power and communication lines were downed and houses made of light materials destroyed because of winds in excess of 200 kilometers per hour. Storm surges also caused the drowning of hundreds of people.
Authorities fear the death toll could rise to more than 10,000 once they have reached far-flung towns that are still cut-off due to blocked roads from debris.
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