Typhoon Maysak hits Micronesia hard, spares Philippines

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Red Cross is distributing emergency supplies in Micronesia, where Typhoon Maysak caused widespread damage before passing over the Philippines as a much weaker tropical storm.

Typhoon Maysak hit Chuuk in Micronesia on 29 March with damaging winds and torrential rainfall.

National authorities confirmed five deaths from injuries sustained during the typhoon, and initial assessments revealed widespread destruction of homes, infrastructure and water sources.

Most devastating to a population of subsistence farmers, 90% of the island's crops were damaged by the storm.

The typhoon continued towards Yap, bringing further damage to many homes, crops and buildings. It then headed towards the Philippines, prompting mass evacuations in the country's north-east while people prepared to celebrate Easter Week. However, Maysak had weakened significantly by the time it crossed the Philippines in Easter Sunday, although there are reports of drowning-related deaths.

Red Cross was well prepared as the typhoon approached, with emergency relief supplies and trained volunteers ready to go.

In Micronesia, where a state of emergency has been declared, trained Red Cross volunteers distributed tarpaulins and rope for emergency shelter, as well as safe drinking water, blankets and kitchen sets. Volunteers are now undertaking rapid assessments and further relief supplies are on their way.

Red Cross also helped communities prepare for Typhoon Maysak. Micronesia Red Cross volunteers supported local authorities in evacuating people to safe shelters before the typhoon hit, while Philippine Red Cross issued warnings that enabled people to secure boats and fishing vessels, and to have emergency batteries and transistor radios ready.

As we learn more about the extent of the damage in Micronesia, Australian Red Cross stands ready to help.