A BARROW man’s lengthy battle with the Home Office has been accelerated by a natural disaster in the Philippines.

Al Edmondson says he is now seeking a fast-track temporary visa for his wife Mary and his daughter Orial after a volcano eruption devastated parts of the country and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

Mr Edmondson told The Mail he had already spent three years attempting to secure a visa for his wife, who is from the Philippines, before the Taal volcano eruption wreaked havoc earlier this month.

“It breaks my heart,” he said, “I need to earn £21,000 a year in order to be eligible, but I work as a playground installer in Chester. So I live in hotels all week all over the UK.

“Orial, my daughter, has her UK passport now, but that took about eight months to get and over £1,100, as the Passport Office wanted that many documents to prove I’ve been part of the family unit and supporting my wife through her pregnancy.”

Mr Edmondson had been visiting his wife and his daughter in Dasmariñas - some 23 miles from the Philippines capital, Manila, which itself is around 45 miles north of Taal - for Christmas, New Year and his wedding anniversary in late November.

He has since volunteered to work as part of the clean-up operation taking place across the country. He says he is currently 14km outside the evacuation zone, but fears ash carried by strong winds in the country may affect the area he is currently staying in.

“Houses have collapsed due to earthquakes and ash-fall weight on the roofs,” Mr Edmonson said.

Taal’s volcano is understood to have eased in the past week since the initial ash eruption a fortnight ago. However, scientists have warned another more serious eruption could be about to hit the Philippines.

Mr Edmondson said he has hired a van to help volunteers distribute food supplies, co-ordinating with a local cafe.

Regarding Mr Edmonson’s visa application, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We do not comment on individual immigration cases.”