Mercy flight delivers aid for victims of typhoon
IRISH companies have dug deep to provide emergency supplies to fill an Aer Lingus-Goal aid flight for the typhoon-hit Philippines.
The plane left Dublin airport yesterday with 40 tonnes of aid on board that was donated by Coca-Cola, Tipperary Water and the Army, among others.
Goal's Barry Andrews told the Herald that the "generosity of the Irish people has been unbelievable".
Kelkin and Lidl donated food while Sam McCauley Chemist, Cardiac Services and Sanserve in Galway gave medical supplies.
The Defence Forces provided tarpaulins, collapsible water bottles and tents, and the Irish Construction Federation gave corrugated iron, wheelbarrows and other tools to help Goal's work.
Darren Hanniffy from Goal said that although the construction sector is suffering, Irish builders are "often the first to put their hands in their pockets".
The Army also "pulled out all the stops", said Mr Hanniffy, by donating more than €60,000 worth of supplies.
Mr Hanniffy, a senior manager with Goal, said the agency usually obtained supplies locally by buying goods on the ground and working with local partners.
"However, the Aer Lingus initiative gave us a great opportunity to connect with corporates here," he said.
The flight was provided free by Aer Lingus, as was the fuel, and the Dublin Airport Authority waived all fees.
Aer Lingus staff, both on the ground and cabin and cockpit crew, volunteered their services for the mercy flight.
The plane, which landed in Dubai last night, was also carrying hundreds of thousands of water purification tablets and emergency medical equipment to help some of the millions left homeless by super typhoon Haiyan.
Goal has so far been able to help 17,000 people affected by the worst typhoon ever recorded, which killed more than 5,200 people and left 1,600 missing.
The November 8 disaster damaged or destroyed one million homes and displaced more than three million people.
Mr Andrews said other aid agencies on the ground in the Philippines shared the view that the Irish public had been more than generous with their donations.
He cited the large Filipino community in Ireland as a galvanising force for both countries and praised the contribution made by Filipinos to the healthcare system here.
Mr Andrews also said the Catholic Church in both countries had served as a strong "connective tissue".
Supplies on the plane will either be shipped from Dubai or flown to the island of Cebu which Goal and many other aid agencies are using as a logistical hub.