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Written Statement - Welsh Emergency Services support to the relief effort in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan

Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales

This is to update members on what the Emergency Services in Wales will contribute as part of the UK relief operation arising from the typhoon in the Philippines.

We have a great record across all our Emergency Services of contributing resources to relief operations at home and abroad. As Chair of the Wales Resilience Forum I meet regularly with the senior officers from the Emergency Services and other responder agencies in Wales. I fully recognise and appreciate the dedication and commitment of our Emergency Services personnel to serve their own communities and to offer their support to rescue efforts anywhere in the world where peoples’ lives are in danger.  

In recent years, seven fire-fighters from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service helped the international rescue effort following the Haiti earthquake in 2010.  As members of the international search and rescue team they were able to rescue a two year old girl and a thirty-nine year old woman from the rubble of collapsed buildings.  We should all be proud of the work they did and the continued willingness of all Emergency Services staff in Wales who are prepared to work in difficult and often dangerous conditions, putting their own safety on the line to help others in need.

We have all witnessed the tragedy which has unfolded in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan and our thoughts are with those affected.

Wales has representation on the European Civil Protection Mechanism which exists to support the mobilisation of emergency assistance from Participating States in the event of major emergencies. Unlike the earthquake in Haiti, the situation in the Philippines has been assessed as one of humanitarian concern rather than a rescue situation. Consequently, the main requirements of the country are shelter, food, water and medical assistance. For this reason there has been no call for assistance from our Emergency Services at this time but UK International Search and Rescue continues to monitor the situation and we stand ready to help if required.

An urgent appeal has been launched by the Disasters’ Emergencies Committee (DEC) to raise money to help get food, water, shelter and medicines to survivors. The DEC is an umbrella organisation which coordinates a number of aid agencies so that they can carry out immediate and longer-term relief work in the affected area. The people of Wales have shown great generosity to DEC appeals in the past and have already shown their support once again to help the millions of people suffering in the Philippines.  We have been informed by Oxfam Cymru that £1,089,000 has already been donated to the DEC from Wales as at 25 November.

I urge the people of Wales to continue to show this support and give whatever they can to help the people of the Philippines affected by the disaster.

To make a donation to the DEC appeal visit www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900