Generous public aid 1.6 million typhoon victims

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A month on from the devastating typhoon that rocked the Philippines, officials have said the British public’s generosity has helped 1.6 million people affected by the crisis.

Since disaster struck, people in the UK have raised more than £73m to help fund crucial aid, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said.

The money, which includes donations from the Royal Family and the Government, is helping to provide much-needed clean water, food, medical care and materials for temporary shelter to those affected.

David and Victoria Beckham also donated 20 boxes of clothing to a Red Cross shop to help boost funds.

DEC said its aid agencies had so far reached 1.6 million survivors across the country. Many people still need emergency assistance, however. In some remote areas little or no aid has reached survivors because roads are damaged or buried in debris.

The scale of the disaster was enormous, with almost 15 million people now known to be affected, according to the latest Philippines government data.

Typhoon Haiyan destroyed or damaged the homes of six million people and the death toll was more than 5,700.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “The UK public has once again placed its trust in the DEC and our member agencies. We feel the weight of that trust as heavily as our obligation to help those whose lives have been ripped apart by this terrible storm.

“Our member agencies cannot undo the damage done by Haiyan, not in months or even a year, but they have worked with their partners to overcome enormous obstacles to deliver emergency aid to hundreds of thousands of survivors.

“The relief effort is ongoing and we must continue to scale it up but we must also begin to support the affected people of the Philippines down the slow, hard road they face to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday that a mass campaign to vaccinate children under five against measles and polio is under way in storm-hit communities and evacuation centres.

The risk of infectious diseases “remains high”, particularly in crowded and unsanitary environments where hundreds of thousands of homeless people are now sheltering.