18 Nov 2013

RNZAF crew pick up further aid for typhoon survivors

10:00 am on 18 November 2013

A Royal New Zealand Air Force cargo plane is picking up a further load of New Zealand aid from Darwin for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

The further four tonnes of disaster relief goods was donated by the New Zealand Government, the private sector and non-government organisations.

The commander of the 24-member 40 Squadron detachment, Squadron Leader Steve Thornley, says that the C130 Hercules has so far evacuated about 240 people from three of the Philippines towns worst-hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

It has also delivered rice, tinned food, water, emergency shelter, field hospital equipment and toilets to the battered cities of Tacloban and Ormoc and the town of Guiuan in areas of the eastern Philippines devastated by fierce winds and rain, and storm surges.

Aid is unloaded from the C-130 Hercules.

Aid is unloaded from the C-130 Hercules. Photo: DEFENCE FORCE

After delivering the new load of New Zealand aid, he expects the plane to also be used to carry supplies sent from many other countries .

The death toll from the cyclone has risen past 3600, with more than 1000 people still missing and two million displaced.

The people picked up by the RNZAF have been relocated to the city of Cebu, which has not been as badly affected.

Squadron Leader Thornley told Morning Report that once they are in Cebu the people are processed by the Philippine Government and either reunited with friends or given temporary accommodation.

He says the evacuees are relieved to get help, as some have arm and leg injuries that have left some them unable to walk without help.

"All of them are very grateful for the support that we are providing," he says.

The RNZAF Hercules has been working out of airfields which have limited room for planes to be parked on the tarmac, but Filipino and overseas soldiers have helped to keep evacuees organised on the ground.

Usually the plane lands and keeps its engines running while cargo such as food and water is unloaded and the passengers embarked.