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Essex Fire Officer reports from the Philippines

Essex Fire officer Terry Webb has sent his first messages home after flying out to the Philippines to assist in the international rescue operations.

Temporary Divisional Officer, Special Operations, Terry Webb,  flew out to the Philippines last week to assist in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone Haiyan. Terry has been deployed to the Philippines as part of a six person team sent by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Terry is the deputy team leader for a small team made up of civil protection experts from various European countries.

Terry reports he is fit and well and working 20 hour days.

On Friday, via text, Terry reported: "I am based in Tacloban for the next week. Conditions still very difficult. Local people are very friendly and no civil unrest it's very humbling mindful of what’s happened. Roads starting to clear and early signs of community recovery with debris clearing. Still a number of deceased in the roads. EU Commissioner visiting tomorrow with President of Philippines. Managed to phone home, I'm fit and albeit a bit smelly with 20 hour days."

On Sunday, Terry arrived in Guiuan after a long trip from Tacloban. “The destruction along the coast road to Guiuan is around 90 percent. We are now establishing ourselves in central Guiuan to assist the coordination of the incoming assistance,” he said.

“The effect of the typhoon here is massive - 90 percent of all structures damaged. The local people are friendly and very helpful. The task in hand is considerable but the assistance is now coming in. My mission is likely to be extended to around the 25th November."

This is not the first time Terry has joined an international aid effort. He was part of the rescue teams in Turkey and Haiti with the EU and he also travelled to Sumatra with members of ECFRS’ Urban Search and Rescue team as part of an international search and rescue contingent.

20 November, more news from Terry Webb:

Terry reports: "I have been working with local, national, international and military assets. Conducted first coordination meeting in Guiuan last night from 30 hours of arriving. Managed to arrange an eight large truck World Food Programme convoy from Tacloban to Guiuan, to be distributed via local authority and US military, with a further three convoys expected in the next three days.

"The unity of the Philippine people is very striking here and humbling. Even after 90 percent destruction of everything.

"Cluster process now established and starting to move forward. Local people very friendly, no curfew here and complete free movement, with no current security concerns. Yesterday was a very hard day, but one of our most satisfying in the conditions and time frame we worked to. UN Under Secretary General Baroness Amos paid a flying visit today, 55 mins on the ground, we had to brief her and visit sites of interest in Guiuan. Still hot here topped 99 F yesterday and today."

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