Philippines: Asia's "super-storm" gathers over South China Sea

Report
from World Vision
Published on 23 Nov 2007
As meteorological reports confirm Typhoon Mitag is strengthening further over the South China Sea, World Vision Philippines is preparing for a strike by what could become a super typhoon.

Typhoon Mitag (also known as 'Mina') is tracking to strike the Bicol area (southeastern Luzon) some time over the weekend. According to state weather reports, it is currently packing winds of up to 160 kilometres per hour.

While the Philippines government plans to evacuate some 200,000 people to safety, World Vision is readying itself by setting up a 24-hour monitoring team based in the National Office. The team is functioning from tonight. The National Office has also activated its disaster response plan.

World Vision Philippines is coordinating with the Government's National Disaster Coordinating Council and other government agencies.

World Vision field staff are also preparing for the incoming typhoon with community disaster preparedness plans already activated at the programme level. Based on this forecast, Typhoon Mitag will affect two World Vision development areas - Green Valley and Mapaglingap.

Around this time last year, Typhoon Durian swept through the same belt of the Philippines, killing 1,200 people and leaving around 120,000 homeless. Fears abound of a repeat of that devastating storm. Some of the communities affected by Typhoon Durian are still in evacuation camps.

Tens of thousands of people are also being asked to leave their homes from the slopes and environs of Mayon volcano in Bicol which is prone to landslides and mud slippages with heavy rains.

To be categorized as a "super-typhoon", a typhoon must reach winds of 215 kilometres per hour or more. Gusts of 195 kilometres have already been recorded from Mitag and the storm shows no sign of abating.

An earlier storm - Hagibis - which hit the Philippines causing landslides and flooding and killing 13 is now heading for Vietnam and is also expected to hit this weekend.

Forecasters are estimating wind speeds of 126 kilometres per hour today in Vietnam with the storm striking coastal areas from Khanh Hoa to Ba Ria - Vung Tau Provinces, including Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in the country.

Several World Vision programme areas are in the line of the storm in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Than Province and An Giang Province.

"We have provided early warning to the projects in this area, so that they can take immediate preparatory measures", said Le Van Duong, Relief and Disaster Mitigation Coordinator for World Vision Vietnam.

The southern provinces are seldom struck by tropical storms. The region was hit in November 1997 by Typhoon Linda, which killed 600 people. Storm Hagibis is the seventh to strike Vietnam this year.

Spokespersons:

For World Vision Philippines:

National Executive Director, Elnora Avarientos
HEA Director , Boy Bersales
Advocacy and Communications Director, Minnie Portales

For media liaison please contact: Dominque Tabora, communications manager: Cell - +63 9178735458

For World Vision Vietnam:

National Director Daniel Selvanayagam
Cell - +84-913059-964

For media liaison please contact: Ms. Nguyen Kim Ngan - Communication Officer
Cel - +84 902 163 379