Greg Hamilton gets on his bike to raise money for Philippines project

York Press: Greg Hamilton  during the 100-mile cyclethon in York Greg Hamilton during the 100-mile cyclethon in York

A VOLUNTEER from York who had to abandon a development project in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan hit has raised £400 for the relief effort.

Greg Hamilton, 22, was working with charity VSO on Bohol Island when the storm hit in November. The charity was forced to bring the project to an end only six weeks into the planned 11 week programme when electricity supplies failed and food and water grew scare after the disaster.

On Friday, Greg and fellow volunteers Emily May, from York, and Sinead Bradshaw, from Manchester, staged a 100-mile cyclethon on a stationary bike in St Helen’s Square and raised £400 for the Disasters Emergency Committee relief fund.

Greg said: “It went really well, and people in York were very supportive.”

Greg, Emily and Sinead were part of a group running an environmental education project in the country. They were warned by VSO to stay indoors when the typhoon was forecast, but saw very little of the storm’s direct damage at their base in the mountainous centre of the island.

He said: “There were two natural disasters when we were there. On October 15, an earthquake at 7.2 on the Richter scale hit, and killed 222 people. We helped with the relief efforts, but couldn’t reach some of the worst-hit communities because there had been a lot of landslides.”

Although Bohol was not badly hit by the storm the electricity supply from a neighbouring island was cut off, and Greg heard about the scale of the problems elsewhere in the country through family back in the UK.

“After the typhoon we tried to continue the project but with no electricity we could not contact people, and they could not purify water so clean water and food supplies started to run short.

“We didn’t want to be a burden, and needs in the Philippines were for basic things like food, water, and shelter.”

VSO decided to bring the project to an end early, but Greg said the communities on Bohol are already restarting the project which his team began.

The team also spent a week in Manila on their way back home, helping with the relief packing of food and medical supplies.

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