‘Food aid from UK ends up in Manila shops’
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Food donations from the United Kingdom that were intended for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda have been diverted and sold for profit by corrupt local officials, a British paper reported yesterday.

In an article posted on its website, The Daily Mail said emergency supplies delivered by military helicopters have turned up on the shelves of shops in affluent districts of Manila.

“Crucial aid sent from Britain to help the victims of typhoon-ravaged areas of the Philippines is being siphoned off and sold for profit by corrupt local officials,” the report reads.

The Daily Mail also reported that shelter equipment bought using British donations have been locked up in government warehouses and stockpiled alongside food items.

UK-based charity groups are now concerned over the aid not benefiting the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

“The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) – an umbrella group representing 14 UK charities – expressed concern about evidence that suggests not all the £60 million of aid given by Britain is reaching those most in need,” the report said, adding that a spokesman for DEC wants to find out “what items are being sold and where.”

The Daily Mail also quoted an expatriate identified as Keb Darge as saying that he has gotten death threats for stopping local officials who were pilfering aid in Eastern Samar.

Darge reportedly said that only a tiny percentage of the donations are reaching typhoon victims.

“The aid isn’t getting through to where it’s needed. I’ve seen the deliveries arrive and I’ve seen them disappear,” the report quoted Darge as saying.

“The situation isn’t going to improve unless there’s an investigation. Someone needs to go and find out exactly what is happening. It is British aid coming in. Why give it to untrustworthy officials to steal? It is ludicrous,” he added.

The Daily Mail said Darge had photos of supplies being locked up instead of being distributed to affected residents. 

“People have warned me to take these threats seriously. They’ve said, ‘Be careful, they will shoot you if you carry on.” I’m under threat. There’s a price on my head,” the report quoted the expatriate as saying.

The Daily Mail also quoted a Japanese aid worker as saying that local administrators were bringing relief goods to their homes.

“There isn’t enough food getting through to people. We don’t have evidence but we believe it is being taken by officials,” aid worker Shiratori Koti was quoted as saying.

Earlier, officials vowed to verify reports that food donations for Yolanda survivors are being sold in Makati City.

The reports stemmed from online photos showing US military meal packs that are supposedly being sold in a department store. The meal packs contain the logo of the US defense department and the words, “Commercial resale is unlawful.”

 

AID DAILY MAIL DISASTERS EMERGENCY COMMITTEE EASTERN SAMAR KEB DARGE MAKATI CITY OFFICIALS SHIRATORI KOTI TYPHOON YOLANDA UNITED KINGDOM
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