By Nichola Jones, IFRC
Emergency supplies for tens of thousands of families are on standby by to be sent to storm-ravaged areas of the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit bears down on the country.
Tarpaulins, jerry cans, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and kitchen sets for 30,000 families have been stockpiled by the Red Cross in the Philippines in anticipation of major damage to homes and livelihoods for those in the storm’s wake.
If Hagupit makes landfall, it will be the most powerful typhoon this year. Although its path is not yet confirmed, it is threatening to hit up to five million of the Philippines most vulnerable families – those with high levels of unemployment and already living in poor quality houses in the Visayas region and along the country’s eastern seaboard. It could also cross islands hit by Typhoon Haiyan last year, including Panay, Cebu and Leyte, where thousands of families are struggling to recover.
Red Cross disaster response teams are on standby across the country and volunteers have been activated to support evacuations in high-risk areas. Additional staff and volunteers across all areas are on high alert.
The Red Cross has readied relief items such as food supplies, sleeping mats and hygiene kits, and Emergency equipment including water trucks, generators, chainsaws and communications gear are pre-positioned for use in Leyte, Samar and Cebu. Extra staff have been deployed to Tacloban where the government has evacuated more than 6,000 families.
Kari Isomaa, head of the IFRC in the Philippines, said: “Landslides, major flooding and a potentially deadly storm surge are all major concerns – especially as the storm will take almost two days to plough its way across the country, dumping huge amounts of rain on heavily populated areas.”
Emergency teams are also on alert in the areas around Mount Mayon volcano in southern Luzon where intense rainfall may cause deadly ‘lahars’ or concrete-like rivers that could inundate villages with deadly volcanic debris.
The Red Cross has technical staff with expertise ranging from shelter and emergency relief to health and sanitation available to support the National Society teams if needed.
Typhoon Hagupit is due to hit the Philippines almost two years to the day since Typhoon Bohpa ravaged the southern island of Mindanao – killing 1,100 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless – and just over one year since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Visayas region last November killing more than 6,300 people and hitting 1.1 million homes. “Unfortunately, a major catastrophe – flooding, landslides, an earthquake or a volcanic eruption – hits the Philippines every year. This year we have to be ready to the multiple secondary disasters that could be triggered by Hagupit,” said Isomaa.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact;
Rebecca Dunne, Irish Red Cross Communications Team:
Tel: 087 743 3275; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @irishredcross