Navy ends humanitarian mission in the Philippines

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ROYAL Navy sailors on board HMS Illustrious have sailed from the Philippines today after completing their disaster relief mission.

The Portsmouth-based helicopter carrier was sent to the islands last month to help out following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Yesterday, during a brief stop in Manila to re-supply, senior members of the Philippine government went on board to thank the ship’s company.

The Philippine Secretary of National Defence, Voltaire Gazmin, said: ‘No amount of words can precisely express our most profound gratitude for the noble deeds of HMS Illustrious and the British sailors in extending utmost assistance to the victims of that deadly natural disaster which has ravaged many islands of our archipelago.

‘We can only thank you from the depths of our hearts, and treasure your most-appreciated help in our trying moments that has in no small way eased the pains and sufferings of our affected countrymen.’

The ship’s company of 650 men and women, and 300 additional personnel including embarked Royal Marines, Army, and civilian medical staff, repaired damaged buildings, provided shelter and clean water, and delivered medical care to those in need.