Irish aid arriving in Philippines
Around 100 tonnes of emergency supplies from Ireland is arriving today in the Philippines as part of an international relief effort in the devastated country.
The Irish Aid consignment is worth more than half a million euro and is on top of €1 million already pledged by the Irish government to help families hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
It includes nearly 600 tents, 700 tarpaulins, 10,000 blankets and 880 ropes, which will be used to set up makeshift shelter for those struggling to survive the aftermath of the disaster.
"These essential supplies will be distributed by Plan Ireland, to alleviate the immediate needs of men, women and children affected by one of the most powerful storms ever recorded," he said.
"On hearing of the scale of the disaster, I immediately authorised an airlift of emergency shelter items to the Philippines from Ireland's pre-positioned stocks in the UN Humanitarian Depot in Dubai."
Over the weekend, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore committed one million euro in emergency funding from the public purse towards the ongoing relief effort.
The latest Irish shipment of emergency stocks is the second in as many weeks to the Philippines.
At the end of last month, a 75 tonne cargo with Irish Aid supplies worth 446,000 euro was dispatched to Bohol after it was rocked by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
President Michael D Higgins yesterday sent a letter to Philippine president Benigno Aquino, expressing support and sympathy on behalf of the Irish people.
Irish aid agency Goal said people in areas worst-affected by the typhoon remain in desperate need of food, water and shelter.
More than 600,000 have been left homeless while 10,000 people are already feared dead.
Sue Hodgson, of Goal - who has arrived in the Philippines to head up its relief operation, said up to 11 million people could be affected.
"I spoke with a group from Leyte island, which took a huge hit from the typhoon," she said.
"They have nothing over there; no food, water, shelter or medicine. I also met with people from Bantayan island. That region was a key tourist area, but the storm has torn it apart."
Ms Hodgson said the disaster is beyond the capability of the Philippine government and shelter is now a priority.
"Lack of food is also a major problem in many areas, and water and sanitation issues will become more and more of a concern as each day passes," she added.