Typhoon aid appeal response hailed

The British public's "overwhelming generosity" has helped the Philippines appeal become one of the most successful donation campaigns in history.

The Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) Philippines Typhoon Appeal has already reached £39 million, helping to fund crucial aid in some of the worst hit parts of the islands.

Four million people have been forced to leave their homes since Typhoon Haiyan struck 10 days ago, while the death toll is expected to exceed 10,000.

And DEC's appeal has already raised £39 million in little over a week - with the prospect of millions of pounds in aid being granted as footage from the devastation continues to be beamed around the world.

Speaking on behalf of the 14 UK charities which make up the DEC, chief executive Saleh Saeed said: "We have been completely overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion of the UK public, the response has been incredible.

"However, with 11 million people affected and four million people becoming displaced from their homes, the need for urgent support is vital.

"Through DEC agencies we are getting clean water, medication, sanitation and temporary shelter materials immediately to people. We must also start to look at the future as sadly we know it will take months and years to rebuild people's lives."

Celebrities have also used their influence to spread the fundraising message, with former England football captain and Unicef ambassador David Beckham writing in the Mirror newspaper to appeal for aid.

Boy band One Direction, contestants from Strictly Come Dancing and comedian Stephen Merchant are expected to join a host of other celebrities supporting the Typhoon Haiyan charity appeal - launching a celebrity telethon on Twitter and taking calls from donors at the BT Tower in central London from 4pm to 7pm today.

It comes as the British effort to deliver aid to the Philippines continues apace - a plane loaded with 95 tonnes of water and sanitation equipment left the East Midlands Airport last night, while a BA jet was also dispatched to the crisis zone, and warship HMS Daring arrived yesterday.

Previous DEC appeals have included the £392 million raised for the tsunami crisis fund in December 2004, as well as £107 million for the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. Britons also pledged £71 million for the Pakistan floods appeal in August that same year, and a further £79 million for East Africa a year later.

DEC spokesman Brendan Paddy described the £39 million raised so far - in less than a fortnight - as staggering.

He said: "The British public have - yet again - been so generous. They have seen the unbelievably shocking footage from the Philippines and are showing a staggering amount of support and compassion.

"I was concerned when Haiti happened that the UK doesn't have a strong cultural or historical link with it. It's the same for the Philippines, and I wondered whether people would still make the connection and donate quite the way they have.

"But I was wrong to have any concerns. People have been so generous, and hopefully will continue to help."

The Department for International Aid and Development (DfID) flight is transporting medical supplies, water tanks and forklifts trucks to the devastated Asian country, along with emergency equipment on behalf of Save the Children and Oxfam.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: "This flight from East Midlands Airport is taking vital supplies to help those most in need after the terrible typhoon which hit the Philippines.

"The British public have shown incredible generosity over the past few days and it is great that alongside supplies from our own stores, this DfID-chartered flight will also carry aid from our partners including stocks of medicine and newborn kits from Save the Children and water and sanitation equipment from Oxfam.

"As the arrival of HMS Daring shows, this joint working between the UK Government and NGOs, alongside those on the ground in the Philippines, means we are able to get target much needed support on the ground."

A number of Britons are missing following the typhoon, Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed.

Among those feared dead is Colin Bembridge, 61, from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, who was staying with his Filipino partner Maybelle, 35, and their three-year-old daughter Victoria near the city of Tacloban when the storm struck.

Channel 4 News said Mr Bembridge was visiting his girlfriend's relatives and had hired a beach house in Baybay, one of the ravaged coastal villages.

Typhoon Haiyan - said to be the strongest-ever to make landfall - has made roads impassable and left airports out of action, severely hampering relief efforts.

The latest death toll given by Mr Cameron is an increase of more than 1,000 on estimates made by the country's civil defence agency earlier this week.

But some officials estimate that the final toll, when the missing are declared dead and remote regions are reached, will be more than 10,000.

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