Monday 18 December 2017

Plane loaded with Irish aid departs for the Philippines

“The devastation there is unbelievable. People literally had their entire homes and every trace of themselves wiped completely away,” according to Julien Behal, photographer.
“The devastation there is unbelievable. People literally had their entire homes and every trace of themselves wiped completely away,” according to Julien Behal, photographer.
Irish Aid Agency delivers aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, Phillipines. Pic:Julien Behal/Maxwells
Irish aid agency GOAL was the first agency to reach many parts of the Philippines and to date have delivered aid to over 15,000 people in the first week. Pic:Julien Behal/Maxwells
A young boy is carried through the ruins of Tacloban on the Island of Leyte. Pic:Julien Behal/Maxwells
Irish aid agency GOAL was the first agency to reach many parts of the Philippines and to date have delivered aid to over 15,000 people in the first week. Pic:Julien Behal/Maxwells
Checking the casualty list on the wall of Tacloban Stadium. Pic:Julien Behal/Maxwells
A young family shelter in the ruins of Tacloban Stadium on the Island of Leyte. Pic:Julien Behal/Maxwells

Fiona Ellis

ALMOST 40 tonnes of much-needed humanitarian aid from Ireland will arrive in the Philippines in coming days to assist some of the millions of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Aer Lingus and Goal teamed up together to fly emergency medical equipment, aqua tabs, water, food, shelter materials and other essential items to the Philippines to aid those who lost everything in the typhoon just over two weeks ago.

A specially-commissioned flight departed at 8.10am this morning from Dublin Airport carrying the supplies and was landing in Dubai at 7.55pm, local time, tonight. 

From there Goal will arrange onward transportation of the stocks to the Philippines, where they will be distributed by the aid agency over the coming days and weeks.

The aid arriving today is much-needed, said Julien Behal, a photojournalist with Maxwell’s photo agency in Dublin, who travelled to the Philippines with Goal last week and captured a series of harrowing images chronicling the devastation left behind in the aftermath of the typhoon.

“The devastation there is unbelievable. People literally had their entire homes and every trace of themselves wiped completely away,” he said.

“It was a complete shock to see that level of destruction.  Everyone seemed to have been affected. We talked to a mother who had a ten-month-old baby swept out of her arms, and she was still looking for him under the rubble. Every person you encountered had members of their family missing or injured.

“There were bodies literally everywhere, almost like you’d see bags of rubbish left out for collection in Dublin on every street corner, and then the smell. It was just horrendous stuff.

“The people were just trying to get on with things as best they can.

Considering what they’ve been through, their resilience and friendliness struck me. They told us: ‘Thank you for coming, thank you for helping.’

 

Companies from all across the country responded to Goal’s request for aid stocks over the past few days. The Irish Defence Forces donated materials valued at almost €60,000, while the Construction Industry Federation provided €10,000 worth of stock.

 

“Once again, the people of Ireland have been extraordinarily generous, particularly considering the short time frame we were operating in,”

said Goal CEO, Barry Andrews.

 

“I would also like to sincerely thank everyone at Aer Lingus for arranging and putting on this flight, and for the cockpit, cabin crew and operations staff employees, who volunteered their free time.”

 

Goal has already reached almost 17,000 people across Leyte and Panay - two of the worst-hit islands and are planning more distributions in Tacloban city in the coming days.

 

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