The Irish government is to provide €1 million emergency aid towards the relief effort for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Tents, tarpaulins and blankets will also be donated and distributed through charity workers, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said. Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps is also on standby to provide expert help to UN agencies operating on the ground.
Up to 10,000 people are said to have died in Tacloban city and hundreds elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands are displaced.
Foreign minister Eamon Gilmore said: “Ireland has strong bonds with the Filipino people through our missionaries and through the many Filipinos working in our hospitals and elsewhere in Ireland.
“My thoughts are with the families of those who have perished, and indeed with those waiting to hear of news from their loved ones. This funding and the emergency supplies will go towards those most at risk, as the crisis moves to the recovery stage.”
The authorities in the Philippines are struggling to bring relief to some of the areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the deadliest storms ever to hit the country. It flattened homes, schools and an airport in Tacloban.
The Irish Aid funding will be provided to Non-Government Organisations (NGO) and will be distributed on the basis of needs assessments by UN, Red Cross and NGOs in the affected areas.
A total of 200 tarpaulins, 85 family tents, 10,000 blankets and other basic food and hygiene necessities are being made available from Irish Aid stocks, pre-positioned in Dubai, and are due to reach the Philippines tomorrow.
Ireland is a major funder of UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid) which is already on the ground.
Ireland also finances the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund through which crisis response funding will be released in the coming days.
Oxfam experts have reported seeing children begging for help and holding up signs that read: “Help. We need water, food and medicines.”
The children were in Daanbantayan, the northern-most tip of Cebu island, where 98 per cent of houses and buildings have been damaged, including one being used as an evacuation centre.
Roads to the area are almost impassable with trees and wreckage of houses lining the highway and aid workers are struggling to access many other affected areas across the country, the charity said.
Tata Abella-Bolo, a member of Oxfam’s emergency team in Cebu, said: “The scene is one of utter devastation. There is no electricity in the entire area and no water.
“Local emergency food stocks have been distributed but stocks are dwindling. The immediate need is water, both for drinking and cleaning.”