Samaritan's Purse steps up rapid response to Philippines typhoon

Samaritan’s Purse is stepping up its efforts to provide desperately needed relief to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which has claimed thousands of lives and left widespread devastation.

The international Christian relief organisation expects to have more than 25 Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) members on the ground by the end of this week, providing basic necessities including temporary shelters, clean water, food, and hygiene items.

On Tuesday of this week 4,000hygiene/food kits were distributed in the northern part of Cebu Island. Another 4,000 kits were distributed the following day in northern Cebu and Bantayan islands.

Bantayan has only 6,100 families but was directly in the eye of the storm and accounts report full devastation of the island. The only access to the island is by air.

Three of the Samaritan’s Purse DART members currently in the Philippines are from the UK, including Peter Ivermee from Dorset, who was helping distribute tarpaulin and water supplies on Bantayan Island this week. Peter reported: ‘In a remote village in Bantayan we were able to work alongside a number of church partners to help us with our distribution efforts.’

Trained DART volunteers Ralph Springett from Essex and Walter Hope from Bangor, Northern Ireland both flew out to join the team on Wednesday of this week to help with logistics. Ralph said: ‘These people are desperate for help and we have nothing but compassion for them. My heart goes out to these people, it's just horrendous.’

This weekend a Boeing 747 plane is expected to fly in six water filtration systems, four of which are being provided for by funds from Samaritan’s Purse in the UK; each system can provide clean, safe water for 2,500 people a day. Included in this airlift also are bladder tanks and tap stands for water storage and distribution, medical supplies, mosquito nets, blankets and more than 5.5 million square feet of plastic sheeting to provide shelter.

A medical field operation is in the process of being established, to be operational for next week. In addition to fielding DART volunteers, Samaritan’s Purse has already committed £120,000 in funding to relieve hardship for survivors of the November 8 typhoon. For the latest information and to support Samaritan’s Purse efforts, people are asked to go to:

image: © trishhh

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