Larrakia digs deep for the kids

Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Location(s): Tacloban, Philippines

Lieutenant Kerensa Benson (left), Ms Kathy Sanidad of the Australian Embassy in Manila and Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Bradley Ireland with the foreign currency that was donated by the crew of HMAS Larrakia to an orphanage in Tacloban, Philippines. (photo: LSIS Yuri Ramsey)
Lieutenant Kerensa Benson (left), Ms Kathy Sanidad of the Australian Embassy in Manila and Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Bradley Ireland with the foreign currency that was donated by the crew of HMAS Larrakia to an orphanage in Tacloban, Philippines.

An orphanage in Tacloban, in the Philippines received an early Christmas present recently when the ship’s company of HMAS Larrakia (with crew Attack Four embarked) pooled their remaining foreign currency and donated it to the orphanage via the Australian Embassy in Manila.

The Armidale Class Patrol Boat was at the end of a six-week South East Asian deployment and before leaving the Philippines the crew handed over the equivalent of approximately AUD $550 to embassy staff to pass on to the SOS Children’s Village Orphange.

“After a very successful deployment in which we visited three countries, there was quite a lot of foreign currency left over in people’s wallets and bags,” Executive Officer Lieutenant Kerensa Benson said.

“On our final day before heading back to Australia the crew decided to put the money to a worthy cause, so we came up with the idea of donating it to a local orphanage.”

Tacloban, a small city in the province of Leyte, is still recovering from the devastation wreaked by Super Typhoon Yolanda last November which saw 90 percent of the city destroyed by intense winds and flooding.

The typhoon swept through the island with winds of up to 315km/h and caused widespread damage and flooding - a total of 6,300 people lost their lives, and much of the region’s infrastructure was destroyed.

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Bradley Ireland said he hoped the money would be put to good use for the children being cared for at the orphanage.

“We witnessed so much devastation and saw this as an opportunity for us to buy essential items such as clothes, nappies, toiletries and other such items for the orphanage,” he said.

During the deployment, Larrakia also visited Sandakan in Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143155.