Friday, December 13, 2013

British Navy ship completes PH aid mission, goes home

From ABS-CBN (Dec 13): British Navy ship completes PH aid mission, goes home

The British Royal Navy amphibious helicopter carrier, HMS Illustrious, has completed its disaster relief mission in the Philippines and is now on its way to back to the United Kingdom.

The carrier, dubbed "Lusty", has been in the Philippines since November 25 delivering relief goods and giving assistance to Filipinos affected by super typhoon Yolanda (international code name: Haiyan).

The British government said that as of December 6, the HMS Illustrious has aided 12,823 people, delivered 68.2 tons of food, over 2,000 bags of rice and 76 disaster relief packs containing tools and supplies. It said members of the ship’s company have been ashore, camping out among communities to provide sustained assistance.

"Royal Navy personnel, Royal Marines commandos and Army engineers have worked closely together to repair buildings, fishing boats, engines and generators," it said.
Surgeon Lieutenant James Baker said he was part of an assistance team deployed to Calagnaan Island in Iloilo.

"We were tasked to help repair a building damaged by the typhoon. It was hard work; safely removing the old structure and replacing it with one that we manufactured using locally-sourced bamboo," he said.

"We then used tarpaulin transported to the site by helicopter to provide a temporary roof. It is measures like this that are among the most vital in the recovery process. It helps restore the sense of normality that Typhoon Haiyan had disrupted," he added.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin thanked members of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Armed Forces personnel who participated in the aid mission.

"No amount of words can precisely express our most profound gratitude for the noble deeds of HMS Illustrious and the British sailors in extending utmost assistance to the victims of that deadly natural disaster which has ravaged many islands of our archipelago. We can only thank you from the depths of our hearts and treasure your most appreciated help in our trying moments that has in no small way eased the pains and sufferings of our affected countrymen," he said in a statement.

UK Secretary of State for Defense Philip Hammond said he is extremely proud of the British military’s hard work in support of humanitarian relief in the Philippines.

"I am grateful to the RAF detachments and the crews of HMS Illustrious and HMS Daring for their swift distribution of aid during the disaster relief operation and am pleased that the DFID will continue to support the recovery effort."

HMS Illustrious began her return journey to the UK this week after a stopover in Manila to re-supply.

The UK Government is providing over £60 million in humanitarian support to help aid get through to hard to reach areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The British public also contributed over £73 million through an appeal from the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), a group of 14 UK aid charities.

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