Aid teams set to aid storm victims

Published: Saturday 6th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Aid workers are braced to provide emergency help in the Philippines as another typhoon approaches just a year after the country was devastated by a storm, Typhoon Haiyan, that killed thousands.

Typhoon Hagupit is expected to reach the Philippines tonight.

Aid teams have brought water kits, which make drinking water safe, as well as basic necessities like soap, toothpaste and blankets.

Rommel Sotto, Save the Children’s emergencies manager, said: “This is the most unpredictable storm I’ve experienced in my career. We urgently need to know where it is going to make landfall so we can reach people affected as quickly as possible.”

Sarah Dransfield, a spokesperson for Oxfam, said Hagupit was expected to be “category 3 or 4 which isn’t as strong as Haiyan, but the problem is it is moving much slower. If it is moving slowly it means the wind and rain are impacting an area for longer.”

But she added, “At least this time a lot of people have evacuated”.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November last year and many people are still suffering its effects.

Hundreds of residents still living in tents in Tacloban were prioritised in evacuation for the coming storm.

Oxfam’s Philippines country director, Justin Morgan, said: “We are especially watchful on areas that are still recovering from last year’s super typhoon Haiyan.

“We are concerned that these households will be less able to cope with potential impacts of typhoon Hagupit on their homes and on their livelihoods.”

Save the Children have been helping children to understand evacuation procedures. They have sent a team of nine people to Bicol in Southern Luzon where they will hibernate until the storm passes before providing emergency relief to affected communities.

In Tacloban their teams have been encouraging families to follow the advice of village leaders about when to evacuate.

Heidi Anicete, Save the Children communications officer, has been in Tacloban since Haiyan hit last year.

She said: “There is a greater sense of urgency this time and this is reflected by how people respond to the news. People are out tying down their roofs, securing their basic necessities and voluntarily leaving their homes to move to safer areas.”

World Vision also have over 1,000 emergency kits prepared and are expecting to provide aid to 55,000 people.

Response director Andrew Rosauer said: “Our commitment is to provide relief assistance to as many survivors as we can in the fastest time possible. We have experts on the ground to make this possible to help save lives and assist people to safety.”

Aid workers say they are particularly concerned about the slow movement of the typhoon, which means Filipinos could face a whole day of prolonged rains and typhoon strength winds.

Save the Children field manager Tom Howells said: “We have been informed that storm surges of three to four metres may hit the city, and we know from experience that children are most vulnerable as they can drown or easily be swept away by the water.

“We are supporting the local officials in moving people to evacuation centres and safer areas.”

Unicef is prepared with emergency supplies including tents, medical items, tarpaulins and generators enough for at least 10,000 families.

They also have school materials to help children whose education will be disrupted.

Lotta Sylwander, Unicef Philippines representative, said: “It is unfortunate that some of the communities recovering from last year’s massive disaster are faced again with yet another Super Typhoon.

“Unicef will continue to be there by children and communities to assist them through this impending calamity.”

Published: Saturday 6th December 2014 by The News Editor

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