UK

Philippines typhoon: Several Britons 'unaccounted for'

  • 16 November 2013
  • From the section UK
General view of devastation brought about by the recent super typhoon on November 16, 2013 in Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines
Image caption Typhoon Haiyan is thought to be one of the strongest storms to ever hit land

"A number" of British nationals remain unaccounted for after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the UK foreign secretary has said.

However, William Hague, who has spoken to his Filipino counterpart to pledge continued UK support, did not confirm how many Britons are missing.

One of those unaccounted for is Colin Bembridge, 61, from Grimsby.

The UK has already committed £50m in aid, while a public appeal has raised more than £30m in donations.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are working with local authorities and international partners to locate British nationals."

'Profoundly moved'

In a statement, the Foreign Office said Mr Hague had spoken to Philippines secretary for foreign affairs Albert Ferreros Del Rosario to offer British condolences on the loss of life caused by the storm.

Mr Hague told Mr Del Rosario the British public has been "profoundly moved" by the suffering of people in the Philippines, the statement added.

The ministers also discussed UK aid contributions, which Prime Minister David Cameron announced had been increased by £30m to £50m earlier.

Mr Cameron said an RAF C-130 aircraft would be sent to carry aid to the Philippines, and a C-17 which left RAF Brize Norton on Friday has already arrived.

Britain is also sending two Royal Navy ships, destroyer HMS Daring and aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.

Daring is expected to reach the Philippines on Sunday and Illustrious should arrive by 25 November.

Missing Briton Mr Bembridge is reported to have been with his Filipino partner and their young daughter near the central city of Tacloban when the storm hit on 8 November.

Image caption Colin Bembridge was said to have been with his Filipino partner and daughter

The Foreign Office said it was aware of reports of British deaths due to the storm, but said it could not comment on any specific cases.

Earlier the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together 14 major UK charities, said donations to its Philippines typhoon appeal had reached £33m.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: "The generosity of the public is yet again surpassing all expectations.

"The aid agencies represented by the DEC never take such kindness for granted but this shows that when people are really suffering, the UK responds."

Image caption William Hague said British people were "profoundly moved" by the situation
Image caption The storm left about half a million people homeless
Image caption Rescue workers are searching the wreckage left by the storm

The death toll from the typhoon stands at more than 3,600, and about 500,000 have been left homeless.

An international aid effort is distributing supplies to tens of thousands of people affected by the storm, but infrastructure damage is hampering efforts to reach some areas.

Rescue workers have found numerous bodies in the wreckage left by the typhoon.

The UN plans to provide enough aid for six months with the help of partners.