There is no doubt that every decent person in the world has been shocked by the images coming out of the typhoon hit Philippines this week. The country is in a state of devastation as a result of Typhoon Haiyan. At least 2,300 people have been confirmed as dead, with the figure set to rise dramatically.
The role of is often thought of maritime satellite communications as a military one. However, whilst the British Royal Navy may be more used to defending areas from potential attacks, the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is showcasing another duty this week instead. Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered the carrier to go and help people affected by the typhoon in the region. The UK Government has already donated more than £20 million in aid money to the Philippines to help deal with the disaster, and this has been added to by an extra £23 million worth of public money donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) fund.
HMS Illustrious will be taking food and water to unfortunate souls left stranded in remote parts of the Philippines. Safe drinking water is needed as quickly as possible in order to help stop outbreaks of infectious diseases. The aircraft carrier, which is equipped with all the latest defence satellite communications, has 900 crew and seven helicopters on board. Mr Cameron commented:
“What happened in the Philippines is an absolute tragedy. You can see the devastation, the suffering, and it’s quite clear that we are going to need long-term help for those people.”
HMS Daring is already in the area with more than 200 personnel on board. Almost all of the Royal Navy’s ships are supplied with food and equipment to deal with humanitarian disasters, and crews are trained on what to do in such situations. Multiplexer manufacturer products ensure that there can be constant communications between fellow ships.
Whilst troops are doing what they can to help the estimated 11 million people affected by the tragedy, the public are playing their part too. DEC chief executive Sarah Saleh Saeed admitted that it had quickly become one of the most generously supported appeals the committee had ever run. British Red Cross spokesman Paul Jenkins also added: “We are so amazed that the generosity of the British public – in very difficult times for everybody – is still there.”
With so many people affect Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, is thankful for the generosity of the public: “These are extraordinary figures, and this allows us to get aid right into the heart of this catastrophe. Aid is beginning to get through even in the worst affected areas. Save the Children has landed a plane today in Cebu and all the Disasters Emergency Committee agencies are there trying to do their best, but we need to get more aid in and very quickly.”
The ability to communicate effectively is vital when organising a response to such a disaster. Fortunately, UK ships are equipped with the best technology possible.
About the Author – Sarah Makinson is a freelance blogger who contributes regularly to a range of different consumer sites, including Vocality.