Friday, 14 February 2014

Beckham gives cheer in Philippines typhoon zone

Beckham gives cheer in Philippines typhoon zone

Last Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 19:29
Beckham gives cheer in Philippines typhoon zone
Tacloban: Football superstar David Beckham visited the Philippines on Thursday to give comfort to survivors of the Asian country`s deadliest ever typhoon -- although not everyone was sure of his identity.

Hundreds of survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan rushed out of their tent shelters in the central city of Tacloban to welcome the global celebrity, who is nevertheless unfamiliar to many citizens of the Philippines, where basketball rather than soccer is king.

"He`s so handsome. I heard he plays for the Azkals," gushed mother-of-four Darilyn Bascug, referring to the Philippines` national football team.

Shortly after Beckham`s arrival, another woman from the area approached an AFP reporter and asked timidly: "Is that man a celebrity?"

Wearing a black T-shirt with the logo of the United Nations Children`s Fund, the 38-year-old ex-England international visited a tent city for several hundred families who lost their homes when giant waves unleashed by Haiyan crashed into Tacloban`s coast.

Beckham spent over an hour inside a UNICEF tent set up as a nursery, where he played with dozens of young typhoon survivors.

The father-of-four stopped to greet babies and children staying in a shanty home made of scrap corrugated iron and wood.

"Very happy, very happy to visit everybody," Beckham told reporters.

"Oh, my God," a young woman screamed as she reached out to grab his hand.

He also visited a warehouse for relief goods donated by the UN in the nearby town of Palo.

Beckham, who ended his illustrious career last year, is on his second visit to the Philippines in his role as a "goodwill ambassador" for UNICEF.

The star, who was travelling with heavy security, flew by private plane today to Tacloban, one of the areas worst-hit by Haiyan.

The typhoon, one of the strongest to ever hit land, left about 8,000 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November last year.

It also left more than four million people homeless as it tore up 171 towns and cities with winds of up to 315 kilometres an hour.

Weeks after the disaster, Beckham and his wife Victoria, formerly of the Spice Girls, donated 20 boxes of clothes and shoes to the British Red Cross to raise money for the victims.
AFP -----------------------

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