Philippines

Communities brace as second typhoon heads for the Philippines

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The typhoon-hit Philippines is bracing itself for yet another storm as people struggle to piece their lives back together.

Plan has released US$100,000 of emergency funds to respond to what was the worst tropical storm to affect the Philippines in recent years, but with the country on alert for a second storm, Plan is appealing for a further US $750,000 to aid efforts.

The estimated death toll of Typhoon Ketsana now stands at around 400 across South-East Asia, with 686,699 people forced to stay in evacuation shelters in the Philippines.

Fear of new storm

It is now feared a new storm, Typhoon Parma - more powerful than Ketsana - will hit the country in the next few days, affecting the same northern areas already ravaged by floods.

Parma has already hit Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos with scores killed and tens of thousands fleeing their homes. Flooding in lowland areas and landslides in mountains are hampering relief efforts, Plan Vietnam has reported.

Plan's emergency relief efforts in South-East Asia include providing food, drinking water, blankets, clothing, mattresses and emergency shelters.

Devastating effects

Plan's country director in the Philippines, Michael Diamond, said many thousands of people are still struggling to deal with the aftermath of Ketsana. He said that compulsory evacuations are expected to be enforced should the storm land as predicted.

"Everyone is very much aware of the second storm out there. It could hit the same areas, so we're really hoping it will veer off. The sheer scale of it caught everyone by surprise. And the effects are much worse than thought. Some areas are fine but others are still under water.

"There are supplies available in warehouses, etc but the difficulty is logistics - getting them out, getting trucks through. Many roads are still blocked by landslides."

Donations needed to reopen schools

He said schools remain shut and are acting as temporary shelters for thousands, as are basketball courts and other areas. The worries now are over sanitation and associated diseases.

Donations and emergency relief funds will go toward buying tools for cleaning and clearing operations so that schools can reopen; providing water and sanitation for children, and setting up child-friendly temporary learning spaces.