A CHARITY aid worker from Colne has been helping families in the Philippines set up emergency shelter after a cyclone devastated the country.

Ed Cox works for Disaster Aid UK and is helping thousands of families pick up their lives after super cyclone Pablo hit last month, killing more than 1,000 people.

The 36-year-old, of Favordale Road, started out as a volunteer packing aid boxes for those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami while studying journalism at university in Cornwall.

Since then he has been deployed to disasters in Uganda, Kenya, USA, Nepal, Columbia, Haiti, Burma, Indonesia and Pakistan.

The former Christ Church Primary School pupil said: “As the deployments manager for Disaster Aid UK I was monitoring Cyclone Pablo for about 48 hours before it hit the Philippines.

“I was in constant contact with my friends out here and our partner agency. Once we realised the extent of the damage to lives and homes, the charity started the process of deploying aid, and a team.

“We have a bank of trained volunteers who we can call on at a moments notice. I arrived before the team on December 9, five days after cyclone Pablo hit.

“The thing you have to remember is our volunteers all have families, and jobs they need to get back to, especially over Christmas. But it is my job to stay out here for as long as is needed, and I love being able to help.”

Ed now plans to stay in the Phillipines until January 21.

He said: “Our aim is to rebuild communities, not just set up camps.

“The area of Baganga that we are working in is in a very difficult position. There had been very little international aid assistance here. We were the first international aid on the ground when we arrived. But to see the community heal and grow over the past weeks has been truly amazing.”

As well as shelter, Disaster Aid UK provides families with a survival kit which includes tools, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking stoves, food preparation items, and school kits for the children.

For more information about the charity visit www.disasteraiduk.org