Ships packed to the rafters to help Typhoon-hit islands

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BLANKETS, food and tools are being loaded on to HMS Illustrious as she sets sail for the Philippines to relieve HMS Daring.

Sailors on board the Portsmouth-based carrier have been working through the night in Singapore to pile the ship’s hangar high with supplies.

RELIEF A sailor from Daring shows Filipino children a tablet computer. Pictures: L(Phot) Keith Morgan

RELIEF A sailor from Daring shows Filipino children a tablet computer. Pictures: L(Phot) Keith Morgan

Hundreds of pallets have been brought on board, containing 12,000 blankets, 80 tonnes of roofing material, tools, 100 tonnes of rice, and 12,000 jerry cans which can be filled with clean water.

Commander Phil Hally, the commander logistics on HMS Illustrious, said: ‘This is probably the most ambitious storing that a Royal Navy ship has attempted to do within 24 hours since the fleet was ordered to sail for the Falklands in 1982.

‘We have taken over 500 tonnes of equipment and stores supplied by the Department for International Development to distribute under their direction in the Philippines.

‘The whole ship’s company has been working formidably hard overnight to get this done in the shortest time possible.’

Meanwhile, Portsmouth-based HMS Daring continues to provide humanitarian aid to the battered islands.

The ship’s company have been putting their disaster relief skills to use as they help villagers get back on their feet.

With the engineering department taking the lead, they were able to build a desalination plant for the village well, and carry out repair work on fishing boats.

They later joined their colleagues handing out donated shelter kits to local homes.

Leading Engineering Technician (Marine Engineer) Jack Coppock, 26, said: ‘We were all a bit nervous at the start.

‘We had seen the pictures in the news and could see how bad it was so we were really keen to be able to help.

‘Now we are here and I am really glad we had our disaster relief training as it looked quite daunting when we arrived.

‘All the people were so happy to see us and thank us. It is good to be here and making a difference.’