Philippines

Philippines: IFRC releases emergency funds to support communities hit by Typhoon Haima

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20 October 2016, Manila - As Red Cross volunteers and staff members provide immediate assistance in areas affected by Super Typhoon Haima, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is releasing a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) allocation of 48,600 Swiss Francs (49,000 US dollars) to support the emergency operation.

Typhoon Haima made landfall last night at 11:00pm local time in Central Luzon, packing strong winds of up to 225 kph near its centre and gusts of up to 315kph. The super typhoon is considered to be a serious threat as it is expected to bring torrential rains and damaging winds, triggering flash floods and mudslides in some areas. It is estimated that there are 1 million households within the 100-kilometre radius of the typhoon’s track.

Philippine Red Cross volunteers and staff in affected areas have started to assess the extent of the damage in the communities. They are also serving hot meals and providing welfare services to people in evacuation centres, where tens of thousands of people are now staying after being evacuated pre-emptively to get them out of harm’s way.

“There have been three devastating typhoons [Meranti, Sarika and Haima] that have struck Northern Luzon one after the other,” says Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. “Mercifully, the effects of the typhoons were not as severe as with Typhoon Haiyan. We have averted a humanitarian crisis, but it is still a humanitarian challenge nonetheless. We need to give priority to those who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and stocks.”

Earlier in the week, the Philippine Red Cross activated 40 of its chapters in Luzon to undertake preparedness measures, with Water Search and Rescue Teams, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Health units, chapter staff and community (Red Cross 143) volunteers and other personnel on standby for possible deployment with rescue boats, amphibious vehicles and ambulances. Additional technical teams were deployed from the national headquarters prior to the typhoon’s landfall, and are now heading to the most affected areas to support Philippine Red Cross chapters in assessments and delivering immediate assistance.

Two teams split up today to conduct rapid assessments of Isabela and Cagayan, two hard-hit areas of Northern Luzon. Haima made landfall in the municipality of Penablanca in the province of Cagayan. The teams will have a better idea of the long-term needs of communities once the assessments are complete.

A humanitarian caravan loaded with assets, equipment, and relief items including supplies and portable power generators will be sent to the affected areas once the conditions permit.

The DREF allocation will be used to replenish the relief items distributed from pre-existing stocks earlier in the week, which included shelter kits, jerry cans, blankets, sleeping mats, hygiene kits and mosquito nets for at least 20,000 families.

For interviews and media inquiries, contact:

In Manila:

Richard Gordon, Chairman, Philippine Red Cross Phone: +63 (0) 917 899 7898; Email: chairman@redcross.org.ph

Oscar Palabyab; Secretary General, Philippine Red Cross Phone: +63 (0) 917 819 2995; Email: oscar.palabyab@redcross.org.ph

Kari Isomaa, Head of Country Office, IFRC Philippine Country Office

Phone: +63 (0) 928 559 7170; Email: kari.isomaa@ifrc.org

Ramsey Rayyis, Acting Operations Manager, IFRC Philippine Country Office

Phone: +63 (0) 998 960 6289; Email: ramsey.rayyis@ifrc.org

In Luzon:

Mary Joy Evalarosa, Communications Officer, IFRC Philippine Country Office

Phone: +63 (0) 998 960 6291; Email: maryjoy.evalarosa@ifrc.org