LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday sent her “heartfelt condolences” to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which swept through the Philippines over the weekend.
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of life and devastation caused by the typhoon that hit the Philippines at the weekend,” she said in a message sent to Philippine president Benigno Aquino III.
“Prince Philip joins me in offering our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families at this difficult time.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to all those whose lives have been affected.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the monarch would contribute to Britain’s rescue appeal, which has raised #1.5 million ($2.4 million, 1.77 million euros) in the 15 hours since it was launched on Tuesday.
The television appeal was set up by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a group of 14 UK aid organisations including Action Aid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Oxfam and Save the Children.
The government will match all donations up to #5 million, and on Monday announced it was sending a warship and transporter plane to help the relief operation.
The Department for International Development (DFID) later revealed that the first of Britain’s several aid flights had landed in the Philippines late Tuesday.
A chartered Boeing 777 carrying 8,836 shelter kits landed in the city of Cebu, with food, water, medicines and other supplies to be delivered over the coming days and weeks.
“UK humanitarian aid is now on the ground to be distributed urgently to the people who need it,” said International Development Secretary Justine Greening.
“It will be followed rapidly by other basics like food and water purification kits, and the equipment needed to clear the way to get that aid to hard to reach communities.”
The UN has launched an appeal for more than $300 million in aid to help deal with the aftermath of the super storm, which it is feared claimed the lives of thousands of people.