HMS Daring loaded her stores at Cebu port with lifesaving humanitarian aid and is on her way to Philippine islands that have been without help since Typhoon Haiyan struck.
The flight crew flew their Lynx helicopter from HMS Daring on six reconnaissance sorties over remote areas for signs of destruction, covering a total of 48 islands and 32,200 square nautical miles.
From the images that came back, the destroyer’s command team have now identified several areas that are desperately in need of aid. Bantayan Island, Binuluangan Island, Gigante Islands, Pande Azucar Estancia on Panay, and Concepcion Island have all been devastated by the storm, with little left in the way of housing, infrastructure, fresh water and food.
Aerial imagery taken from the Lynx show flattened housing, scattered possessions, large vessels blown onto shorelines and the word ‘help’ spelt out in palm leaves on the beach.
“We were all shocked by the images that came back and are unanimous that these people are very much in need some of the stores and equipment I now have on board,” said Commanding Officer of HMS Daring, Commander Angus Essenhigh.
“Many of the areas we surveyed had not been heard from since the storm struck and it was vital that we carried out a clear assessment of exactly where this aid was needed most. The ship will now arrive tomorrow when we will determine exactly what is required by the islanders and begin to deliver it.”
The aid collected by the Department for International Development (DfID) for HMS Daring to distribute consists of: 500 food baskets which can feed a family of four for a week; 500 family shelter kits; 500 hygiene kits; 1,500 four-litre water carriers; and 400 five litre water carriers. The ship will also embark a team of 14 medics from the UK.
HMS Daring herself can also provide 700 ration packs, 550 litres of bottled water and can provide 100,000 litres of potable water within 24 hours, generators, firefighting equipment, thermal imaging cameras and an emergency relief pack containing essentials such as generators, floodlighting and rescue equipment .
On board she has electrical and mechanical engineers, a doctor and medical team, first aiders, dentist, priest, heavy equipment specialists, air crews and boat crews. All 200 personnel on board are also trained in humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
HMS Daring is the first in class of the Royal Navy’s six new Type 45 destroyers which are the largest and most powerful destroyers ever built for the Navy. Her Lynx helicopter is from 815 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton.
A Portsmouth-based air defence warship, HMS Daring is two thirds of the way through a nine-month deployment and was taking part in an exercise with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia as part of the Five Powers Defence Arrangement when she was re-tasked to the Philippines.
Press Release, November 18, 2013; Image: Royal Navy