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Irish News

Government doubles level of aid over Philippines typhoon

Pledge over extra ?1.6m brings country?s contribution to more than ?3m

Ireland is doubling its financial aid to the disaster-struck Philippines.

Minister of State for Development Joe Costello said the Government is pledging an extra ?1.6 million to the international relief effort - bringing the country?s contribution to more than ?3 million.

But he also called for better co-ordination between global donors to make sure those who need relief most are getting it as quickly as possible.

The money will be used by humanitarian agencies to provide shelter, food, water and health services to the 13 million people devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

?Ireland acted quickly to respond to Typhoon Haiyan, but as the magnitude of this disaster has become clear, it is all too apparent that further assistance is required,? said Mr Costello. ?The situation is critical. Immediate threats to life include lack of safe drinking water, lack of shelter, trauma injuries, lack of sufficient food, lack of access to sanitation and personal hygiene.?

Last week, the Government despatched 100 tonnes of emergency supplies to the Philippines.

It included nearly 600 tents, 700 tarpaulins, 10,000 blankets and 880 ropes, which will be used to set up makeshift shelter for those struggling to survive the aftermath of the tragedy.

Mr Costello said there was a need for improved co-ordination among donors to ensure aid already delivered reaches the most needy as quickly as possible.

?The international community has learned many lessons from previous crises, such as the 2004 tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake,? he said.

?Ireland has supported subsequent efforts by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to establish clear systems to allow the most effective, efficient and rapid delivery of aid possible. ?Ireland will continue to make every effort to ensure our response is timely and effective, and meets the most critical, immediate needs.?

Two members of Ireland?s Rapid Response Corps have also been deployed to help UN relief teams in the Philippines. Further deployments and airlifts are anticipated, the Government said. Cardinal Se?n Brady, head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, has called on people to reach out to those directly affected by the disaster.

?Perhaps you know some Filipino people who would appreciate a message of sympathy and encouragement right now,? he said.

?The pain of those who are suffering can be made more painful if the rest of the world goes on as usual and nobody appears to notice or care.

?Conversely, human suffering can be lessened by those who do notice and do their best to help.?

Press Association