First British aid worker returns from Typhoon Haiyan

London: There’s not a single building left undamaged – you couldn’t live in any of them. Sufferers are surviving by scavenging for food, looking for coconuts blown from trees. Zaid Al-Rawni is the first British aid worker from any of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) member agencies who returned to the UK from the Typhoon Haiyan and expressing his views in front of media in London.

Zaid 33, a father of two and Islamic Relief’s National Fundraising and Volunteer Manager had spent past week in Philippines and was one of the first outsiders to reach the island of Bantayan, which was in the direct path of the storm. Zaid and other members of disaster response team helped people who lost their homes and all of their belongings in the storm. He travelled between a number of small islands on ferries and banana boats carrying food and water to desperate families, part of a local relief operation in north Cebu which has assisted 206,000 people since the typhoon struck.

More than a week after the storm hit, the situation for many people is still desperate says Zaid. Thanks to the generosity of the UK public the DEC has raised over £50 million for the Typhoon Haiyan appeal, with the UK Government donating £5 million through matched giving and the Scottish government donating £600,000 as part of this total. Islamic Relief Pakistan has chartered a plane from Lahore, Pakistan to the Philippines filled with 1,500 tents and 3,000 plastic sheets. Islamic Relief helped local partner RAFI (Ramon Aboitiz Foundation) to distribute food packs to more than thirty thousand families in northern Cebu – around 160,000 people.

Islamic Relief has successfully transported 136 family-sized tents to Cebu from Dubai, ready to be distributed while 1,500 more tents and a large consignment of plastic sheeting will arrive from Pakistan on Friday November 22 on a specially chartered flight.

Islamic Relief representative told that this is the first phase of this emergency response, where immediate needs are met. Plans are being made for second phase, which we hope will include more long-term support like shelter construction and helping to restore people livelihoods.