Air lift leaves from Brindisi

FilippineA humanitarian aid flight for victims of this month's devastating Typhoon Haiyan left for the central Philippines from Brindisi in southern Italy, the foreign ministry announced on Wednesday.

Aboard the plane were 42.5 tonnes of basic items including tents and emergency shelters, cannisters to transport drinking water, water purification equipment, electrical generators, medical supplies and portable toilets.

Italy's overseas aid department and the Italian charity Intersos have provided the emergency items, the foreign ministry said.

It is the third air lift to the Philippines organised by the United Nations World Food Programme's depot in Brindisi on behalf of the Italian government after earlier flights from Dubai and Malaysia.

Staff from Italy's embassy in Manila and Intersos as well as ministry officials aboard the flight will oversee the unloading and distribution of its cargo when it lands on Cebu, the Italian foreign minstry said.Cebu and the neighbouring island of Leyte were close to Haiyan's path and were among the areas worst hit by the typhoon.Typhoon

Haiyan killed more than 4,000 people when it tore through the Philippines on 8 November, with winds gusting up to 270 kilometres per hour.The strong winds also contributed to a storm surge, which sent a wall of water crashing through some low-lying areas close to the typhoon's path. The storm surge reached its height at Tacloban on Leyte, devastating the city.

The UN estimates around 11 million people have been affected by the storm.Further flights organised jointly by Italy's overseas aid department, the UN and the European Union are scheduled in the coming weeks, the Italian foreign ministry said.Major nations have so far pledged over $660 million dollars in aid for the disaster.




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