ICRC scales up effort to help typhoon victims

from International Committee of the Red Cross
Published on 14 Dec 2012 View Original

Geneva/Manila (ICRC) – Typhoon Bopha (locally known as Pablo) has destroyed more than 90% of the infrastructure in the eastern half of the southern Philippines, with severe consequences for over a hundred thousand people.

More than 900 deaths have already been confirmed. In response, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), together with the Philippine Red Cross, is scaling up its operations on the ground. To meet the most critical needs of some 200,000 people, the ICRC is launching a preliminary appeal for 10 million Swiss francs (about 10.8 million dollars).

"This typhoon left a staggering level of damage along the eastern coast of Mindanao," said Alain Aeschlimann, the ICRC's head of operations for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific. "In the worst-hit communities of Baganga, Cateel, Boston and Caraga, people are left with almost nothing. Not only have they lost their homes, but they are worried about their future since the crops they depend on to earn a living have been almost totally destroyed."

"Our priority will be to provide people with emergency assistance, keeping in mind the mid-term goal of helping them to resume their normal lives," said Mr Aeschlimann. "Most of the funds we are calling for will be spent on food and basic shelter materials that can be provided right away." On 14 December, a Boeing 747 jet will land in Davao fully loaded with emergency supplies. The aircraft will make two more trips to bring a total of 280 tonnes of tarpaulins and other shelter materials, mosquito nets and basic household items from the ICRC’s emergency stock in Kuala Lumpur.

The ICRC, which has been working in this part of the southern Philippines for decades, and its partner, the Philippine Red Cross, have already delivered food and items essential for cooking and hygiene to tens of thousands of people. Since local water systems were damaged, joint ICRC-Philippine Red Cross emergency teams are treating water and transporting it to strategic locations so that people will have clean drinking water. The ICRC has also helped local hospitals to cope with the influx of injured patients by providing medicines and medical supplies. In addition, it plans to support repairs to some rural health facilities in the area to ensure that people have access to suitable medical care.

For further information, please contact: Philippe Stoll, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 40 or +41 79 536 92 49 Cynthia Lee, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 68 84 Jesse Edep, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 917 505 6677