Thursday 18 December 2014

Aid agencies distribute tons of emergency supplies in Philippines

Published 16/11/2013 | 20:57

AID agencies have distributed hundreds of tons of emergency supplies to those caught up in the typhoon in the Philippines.

Charities including Oxfam, Save the Children and Care International have been on the ground in the devastated country, distributing desperately needed supplies to those who have been displaced.

Save the Children said three lorries carrying household and family hygiene kits were today due to reach the stricken city of Tacloban where they would benefit 5,000 people.

Additional fuel which has been in very short supply in the area will also arrive to enable further distributions to take place there and in other hard-hit areas over the coming days.

The charity's humanitarian relief coordinator Michel Rooijackers said: "Typhoon Haiyan overturned millions of lives when it hit the Philippines last Friday, causing destruction on a record-breaking scale, and shattering people's homes and livelihoods.

"The conditions in which families are living in right now are extremely difficult, and these items will provide some basic but essential relief."

Action Against Hunger said its teams in Tacloban and Capiz have distributed 128 tons of emergency supplies from its warehouses.

Among the items being handed out are 30,000 hygiene kits to help prevent the outbreak of disease.

"Contaminated water supplies and a lack of sanitation and clean drinking water mean deadly water-borne diseases can spread rapidly so we had to act swiftly," water, sanitation and hygiene expert Paul Mayor said.

The charity was also beginning supplementary food distributions to those in urgent need this weekend, especially children and pregnant or breast-feeding mothers.

Daniel Burgui, of Action Against Hunger, said: "Some media outlets claim that there is widespread looting in Tacloban but cases of looting are isolated.

"We urge the media to not convey a distorted view of the situation; survivors are showing remarkable patience. It is true that some supermarkets and warehouses have been looted but these incidents were isolated cases.

"Survivors are waiting patiently for relief distributions in front of the distribution sites despite being extremely hungry; people who have lost everything and are still searching for their loved ones."

Save the Children later said it distributed blankets, family hygiene kits and household kits to 280 families seeking shelter in a former school in Tacloban.

Seven families were crammed into every classroom, with children sleeping on desks and without any access to electricity or running water.

Hygiene kits were distributed and volunteers delivered important health advice.

Tomorrow afternoon a barge carrying more than 25 tonnes of aid items and essential household kits is due to arrive.

The charity said it is also in the process of setting up six mobile health clinics in Tacloban.

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