The British Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring has arrived at the island of Cebu in the Philippines, where it will be at the forefront of the UK’s efforts to bring aid to the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan.
The warship has spent the past three days surveying the damage to remote areas in and around the Philippines, and has now identified key regions which are yet to be reached by relief workers.
The Department for International Aid and Development (DFID) said HMS Daring has docked at Cebu, where it will be used as a base of operations for a Lynx helicopter flying food, medicine and survival equipment to the places in greatest need.
The helicopter will also be used to distribute the members of a 12-strong team of medical workers across the islands, spreading out to treat victims of the typhoon all over the country.
Justice Greening, the International Development Secretary, said: “HMS Daring's arrival is a major boost to DFID's disaster experts and medical teams already deployed in the Philippines. This Royal Navy vessel will help us open a lifeline and allow us to help many more victims of the disaster.”
A DFID flight is also due to depart East Midlands Airport later today, loaded with more than 95 tonnes of aid including water and sanitation equipment along with vital supplies on behalf of Save the Children and Oxfam.
“More British help is on its way,” Ms Greening added.
“This latest flight will be full of medical supplies, water tankers and forklifts to get aid moving and help clear bottlenecks at the airports.
“The British people have shown huge generosity over the past days and DFID is working with charities to make sure all their donations get to those who need it most.”
HMS Daring will use its water filters to fill 1,900 water carriers with clean drinking water across the region, as well as distributing 10 tonnes of high-energy biscuits and 500 shelter kits.
A number of Britons are missing following Typhoon Haiyan, Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed yesterday. The news came as it emerged that donations to the UK's charity appeal had reached £33 million.
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.
The mother of Mr Bembridge's partner, 79-year-old Lydia, showed the programme the wreckage of the beach house where her daughter and granddaughter were staying, and said they had not been seen since the typhoon struck eight days ago.
A Foreign Office spokesman said Mr Hague spoke on the phone to Philippines secretary for foreign affairs Albert Ferreros Del Rosario to offer his condolences.
“The Foreign Secretary confirmed that a number of British nationals remained unaccounted for,” the spokesman added. “He asked that every possible assistance be given to any British people caught up in the disaster.”
Additional reporting by PA