Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded, struck the Philippines in November 2013 with winds of up to 190 mph (305 kph). At least 10,000 people died in one Philippine province alone.
Bieber makes surprise visit to Philippine typhoon survivors
Star sings carols to children and even plays a round of basketball with people of storm-hit Tacloban
Pop megastar Justin Bieber sang to young survivors of the Philippines’ deadliest typhoon on Tuesday after he flew into the disaster zone to boost an international relief effort.
Bieber flew unannounced to the central city of Tacloban just over a month after it was devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan and sang Christmas carols to children at a local school amid tight security, witnesses said.
“He sang Holy Night for the children,” said Kate Donovan, a spokeswoman for Unicef, one of three aid agencies expected to benefit from Bieber’s charity work.
Photos posted on social media showed young fans with mobile phones snapping away at the Canadian teen, who has more than 46 million followers on Twitter.
Bieber arrived on a special flight, Immigration officer Jerome Ollet said. Pictures on social media showed fans snapping photos of the star at Manila’s airport.
Prior to visiting the Philippines, Bieber had posted a message on fundraising website Prizeo.com urging his millions of fans to donate to the victims of the typhoon, the strongest to ever hit land.
A Twitter user on Bieber's arrival:
not a belieber but can we all thank justin bieber for going to tacloban to help the haiyan victims pic.twitter.com/qW8MzdRrFg
— laurence (@malikangarooo) December 10, 2013
Haiyan cut across the central Philippines on November 8, destroying scores of communities along its path.
Tsunami-like storm surges it triggered also swallowed up many coastal areas, and were blamed for majority of the nearly 6,000 deaths.
More than 1,700 others remain missing and about four million have been displaced.
In his video on Prizeo, Bieber asked fans to help him support victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which also left more than 1,700 others missing, and flattened entire towns and villages in the central Philippines.
Bieber said those donating to his cause could win a chance to personally see him record music next year as he works on his next album.
“In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, its victims in the Philippines need our help – and they need it now,” he said in his appeal.
“The moment I heard about the tragedy a few weeks back, I thought I can count on you guys to make a difference,” he added.
Bieber is one of the several foreign and local celebrities and VIPs who have helped out.
Grammy-award winning singer Alicia Keys, while in the country for a concert, visited victims airlifted to Manila two weeks ago. She visited an air force base in Manila two weeks ago and distributed crayons and colouring books to children of families who arrived aboard mercy flights by the Philippine and US military from typhoon-ravaged provinces of Leyte and Samar.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop flew to the worst-hit area Tacloban city Sunday to console survivors and pledge continuing aid.
Fans and fellow celebrities alike reacted to Bieber's Tacloban visit:
— WhatAWasteofAdMoney (@wawam) December 10, 2013
— king del rosario (@kingdelrosario) December 10, 2013
Justin Bieber is in the Philippines to give hope for the victim of Haiyan. Justin Bieber gained my respect. #GiveBackPhilippines
— demetria lovato (@ForeverWidDEMI) December 10, 2013