RAF plane to aid relief effort
An RAF transport plane has landed in the Philippines to bring "significant reinforcement" to the relief effort following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
The C-130 aircraft arrived at Cebu airport today where it will carry aid to the most remote and worst-hit parts of the disaster-ravaged country, the Department for International Development (DFID) said.
The plane, which is able to land on smaller airfields with shorter runways, will assist the United Nations and aid agencies to ensure supplies and humanitarian workers reach survivors in desperate need of help.
It comes after a plane loaded with more than 95 tonnes of aid including water and sanitation equipment left East Midlands Airport for the Phiippines yesterday, while British warship HMS Daring arrived in the disaster zone on Sunday as part of the UK's emergency response.
An RAF C-17 plane carrying heavy duty vehicles and emergency medical supplies also touched down in Cebu province on Saturday to deliver two JCB diggers, two Land Rovers and a forklift truck after leaving RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: "The arrival of an RAF C-130 aircraft in Cebu is a significant reinforcement of the UK's aid relief efforts in the Philippines.
"This flexible and efficient aircraft can handle damaged airfields and get into areas that would be otherwise inaccessible.
"Alongside HMS Daring, it shows how the UK is focused on not only getting aid into the Philippines but on getting it to the remotest areas where the need is greatest."
Four million people have been forced to leave their homes since Typhoon Haiyan struck almost two weeks ago, while the death toll is expected to exceed 10,000.
The UK Government is providing more than £50 million to support up to 800,000 people in the Philippines affected by the disaster.
The C-130 aircraft is expected to remain in the country to assist with the relief effort for 10 days.
Recent modifications to the plane have increased take-off thrust and improved fuel efficiency, while the cockpit is compatible with the use of night-vision goggles, the DFID said.
Earlier a celebrity telethon in support of the Philippines was hailed an "overwhelming success" after helping to bring the total raised by the British public to £44 million.
Jamie Oliver and Amanda Holden were among the stars at BT Tower yesterday taking donations from callers for the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) Philippines Typhoon Appeal.
More than £90,000 was raised directly from the star-studded event, which took place in a room with a spectacular view across London as day turned to night.
DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said that while last night was a great success, "more money is still needed".
"Last night was an overwhelming success with an unprecedented number of celebrities giving their time to take donations on the phones," he said.
"However, to continue delivering essential emergency aid and to help hundreds of thousands of people rebuild their lives, more money is still needed."
Meanwhile, the Big Lottery Fund is donating up to £5 million to help the relief effort.
The organisation, which distributes funds for good causes raised through lottery ticket sales, said it will make the cash available to UK-based charities working with communities in the disaster-ravaged country.
More than 150,000 people backed a petition calling for a £12 million EuroMillions prize to be donated to the Disaster Relief Fund to help people in the Philippines.
The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) said it cannot make general donations to emergency appeals, nor does it believe its funds are best used for immediate disaster relief.
Donations can be made to the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal on the DEC 24-hour hotline on 0370 6060900, by visiting http://www.dec.org.uk, by donating over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or by sending a cheque.
People can also donate £5 by texting 'SUPPORT' to 70000.