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Christian charities help launch emergency Typhoon appeal

Several Christian charities have joined with other aid agencies to launch a joint emergency appeal to get food, water and shelter to victims of the devastating Philippines typhoon.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), made up of 14 aid charities, including CAFOD, World Vision, Christian Aid and Tearfund said its members were already responding to the crisis but the scale of the destruction meant there was "huge unmet need". 

The United Nations estimates that £190m will be needed in aid.

Speaking to reporters in the capital Manila, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said: "We've just launched an action plan focusing on the areas of food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also protection of the most vulnerable with the government and I very much hope our donors will be generous."

Labour MP and Christian, Gavin Shuker, overseas the Philippines in his role in the Shadow Department for International Development. Speaking on Premier's News Hour he gave Des Busteed an update on how the UK's been responding to the crisis.

The Philippine National Red Cross, responsible for warning the region and giving advice, said people were not prepared for a storm surge. Although weakened, the typhoon has also killed eight people and devastated farmland since making landfall in southern China. 

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: "The destruction in Tacloban city, on the east coast, is said to be reminiscent of the Boxing Day tsunami.

"There is currently no food, water or electricity. We can only imagine how much worse the situation will be for families living in towns and remote villages.

"DEC members are doing all they can to get aid through but they need a huge injection of funds in order to do so."

Although the official death toll stands at 1,774, around 10,000 people are thought to have been killed in the city of Tacloban alone.

 Matthew Carter from the Catholic aid agency CAFOD told Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour that people are desperate. 

The UN said 660,000 people have lost their homes while a further 10 million could be affected after the typhoon, said to be the strongest ever to make landfall, hit the Southeast Asian nation. Gwyn Williams is the Operations Manager at Christian charity Feed the Hungry UK.

He tells Premier's Maria Rodrigues-Toth those who've lost everything have nowhere to turn. 

A team of British medical experts and the first consignment of UK aid are heading for the disaster-hit Philippines. Prime Minister David Cameron said the scenes of devastation caused by the super storm are "heart-breaking".

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, tells Premier people here need to help in whatever way they can.

Meanwhile, China's facing criticism from its own state-run newspaper for the amount it's pledged to the Philippines. The government of the world's second largest economy is giving around £63,000 to typhoon victims, while Britain's sending £10 million. 

An editorial in China's Global Times believes the country's missed a chance to build on weak relations with its neighbours. 

Elsewhere, the US is giving $20 million, Japan $10m and Australia $9m.

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