14 February 2014 David Beckham, a United Nations Children's Fund Goodwill Ambassador, today met with children in the storm-ravaged Philippine city of Tacloban as part of the UN agency's relief efforts in the country.
The football legend said he was “humbled” to see how people “are still so full of spirit despite the devastation they have suffered.”
A father of four, Mr. Beckham joked around with the children, making Valentine's Day cards with them inside a makeshift classroom, and playing with animal puppets. He headed and kicked around a ball before posing for pictures.
The two-day visit was meant to show people around the world what impact their donations have had on the children and their families, and “how thankful people here are for their kindness,” Mr. Beckham said.
Typhoon Haiyan swept ashore on 8 November killing nearly 6,000 people, displacing 4.1 million at the height of the emergency, and destroying homes and livelihoods.
The UN launched a one-year Strategic Response Plan for $788 million dollars in mid-December, in support of the Government's strategic plan, amounting to some $8.17 billion over four years to guide the recovery and reconstruction in the affected areas. The Plan is currently 45 per cent funded, according to figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
This was Mr. Beckham's second visit to the Philippines with UNICEF, which he has served as a Goodwill Ambassador since 2005. In 2011, he visited a shelter in Manila and played an exhibition game.
One of the most famous footballers of his generation, the former midfielder has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy, among other clubs, and has also played more than 100 times for the English football team.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue