Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Information Bulletin n° 2

The situation

Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) – the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year – made an initial landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on Friday, 8 November 2013 with maximum sustained winds of 235 kph and gusts of up to 275 kph. It then tracked across Visayas, making multiple landfalls in the provinces of Leyte, Cebu and Iloilo before heading to Palawan and exiting to the sea west of Philippines. Its effects have extended to other provinces, including but not limited to Northern Samar, Samar, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Masbate, Biliran,
Capiz, Aklan, Antique and Romblon.

While the overall impact of the typhoon has only started to emerge as responders reach the hardest-hit areas, Red Cross volunteers and staff in areas where the typhoon hit are reporting significant number of casualties and damages, with those in Tacloban City describing the impact as tsunami-like. Anecdotal reports from Red Cross teams on the ground indicate massive casualties in the city alone, although these are being verified. The city’s airport has been significantly damaged, lifelines heavily impacted and roads rendered impassable due to debris. The Red Cross chapter building was not spared, and operations have had to be shifted to an alternative building.

According to the latest update released by the disaster risk reduction and response operations office (DRRROO) in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a total of 944,586 families or 4,283,290 people have been affected across 39 provinces, with 71,623 families or 330,914 people sheltered in 1,223 evacuation centres that are operational. A total of 3,438 houses are reported damaged – 2,055 of them completely destroyed.

In all, as a clearer picture emerges, indications are that the humanitarian impact of Typhoon Haiyan is massive.

Besides the Tacloban City, significant casualties can be expected in areas where the eye of the storm passed, including Guiuan in Eastern Samar – a narrow peninsula where the typhoon first made landfall – and Bantayan Island in the northern tip of Cebu. The national authorities have already indicated that they will accept international assistance. Furthermore, several affected provinces are declaring a state of calamity.