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Friday 15 December 2017

Irish aid to go to typhoon-hit families

Lesley-Anne McKeown

IRELAND is to provide aid worth €125,000 to help families affected by Typhoon Bopha, the Minister for Trade and Development confirmed today.

Joe Costello TD said a further 32 tonnes of emergency supplies including tents would be sent to the Philippines to assist the thousands left homeless by the tropical storm which struck last week.

Mr Costello said: "Plan Ireland and Christian Aid Ireland are urgently responding to the crisis in Mindanao and Davao Regions. These organisations have been given approval to draw down ?125,000 from pre-approved Irish Aid funding to address the immediate needs of affected families.

"In addition, I have authorised an airlift of 400 family-sized tents, 300 pickaxes and spades and 15,000 soap bars from Ireland's stocks in the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Malaysia. This airlift will provide emergency support to 400 families who are enduring extremely difficult conditions."

Plan Ireland and Christian Aid Ireland are drawing down ?75,000 and ?50,000 respectively from the Irish Aid Emergency Response Fund. The government said this was pre-approved funding specifically reserved for severe emergencies to facilitate a speedy humanitarian response.

More than 650 people were killed when the tropical storm struck last week. Nearly 1,500 were injured and hundreds more are still missing.

Over 300,000 people have been forced into evacuation centres.

Philippines president Benigno Aquino III has declared a state of emergency. Communities, particularly in the eastern provinces, are in urgent need of food, water and shelter.

The United States, Canada, Japan and Australia have also pledged to give financial assistance to the massive rescue effort.

One member of Ireland's Rapid Response Corps will deploy to the Philippines to support Unicef's work to improve water and sanitation provision.

Mr Costello added: "My staff are in close contact with the UN agencies responding to the emergency. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely, including through our embassy in Singapore."

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