Philippines

Plan International Prepared to Respond: Major Typhoon Headed Toward Philippines

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First Philippines Typhoon of 2015 Due to Make Landfall Saturday or Sunday, path includes Manila Manila –Typhoon Maysak heading rapidly toward The Philippines, Plan International is preparing to respond with humanitarian child protection aid. Maysak is an unusually strong Typhoon, striking well before the annual storm season.

Plan International has played a major role in responding to recent emergencies in The Philippines, including recent Super Typhoons Haiyan and Hagupit, and is in position to respond if needed when the storm hits.

Typhoon Maysak – local name Chedeng – has winds of over 210 km/hour. The Typhoon is currently forecast to make landfall on Saturday or Sunday. Maysak’s current trajectory is toward Luzon Island, which includes the Greater Manila area and its 22 million people. Heavy winds and rains are forecast, and authorities have warned of a storm surge of up to four metres. The Typhoon may be a Category 3 Storm when it makes landfall.

Richard Sandison, Emergency Response Director in the Philippines, says: "We are monitoring this typhoon and keeping updated on all developments. Plan is always ready to make a quick assessment with government and other agencies and we will respond as necessary.”

“Our first response frequently consists of providing life-saving needs, including shelter, water and sanitation, if needed,” added Sandison. “Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, and two or three of them can be devastating. We hope that this latest storm will not be in that category but we are prepared if it is.”

Typhoons are extremely rare at this time of year. The dry season could exacerbate the impacts of the typhoon, with severe flash floods and landslides.

“If the typhoon moves over Metro Manila, people living in low-lying informal settlements are at increased risks.” according to Olle Castell, Plan International’s DRR Manager in Asia “From experience, in urban areas street children, working children and children living in slum areas are among those most at risk”.

Meteorologists and climate experts in the Philippines have noted that an increase in the frequency and the ferocity of typhoons in the Pacific is likely a consequence of climate change. Evidence of this can be seen in the devastation of Typhoons such as Haiyan in 2013, which was the largest storm ever recorded to make landfall, and in the extraordinary timing of a storm such as Maysak. Plan International has noted that extreme climate events such as these are part of the ‘new normal’ for the region, and is responding by strengthening preparations and working with communities and government on disaster risk awareness and response through initiatives such as the Safe Schools project.

“The storm season is still months away, and already we’re battening down for a major storm,” said Plan’s Sandison. “It is chilling to think of what else could be in store for this disaster-weary country in 2015.”

Plan Philippines Richard Sandison and Olle Castell are available for interviews by phone or skype

Further details and interview requests:

Plan Regional Office (Bangkok):

Mike Bruce, Regional Communications Manager (Acting)
Email: mike.bruce@plan-international.org
Mobile: +66 (0)81 8219770

Plan Philippines :

Chris Sibugon, Communications Officer
Email: Christelyn.Sibugon@plan-international.org
Mobile +63 915 884 8245

Plan International Headquarters (London):

Davinder Kumar, Global Media Manager
Email: Davinder.kumar@plan-international.org
Mobile: +44 7773633835

ABOUT Plan:

Founded over 75 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.www.plan-international.org.

ABOUT Plan Philippines:

Plan International is one of the Philippines' longest-serving humanitarian and development INGOs, with a special focus on helping marginalised children across the country to access their rights to health, education, livelihoods, disaster risk management and protection. Plan in the Philippines has also responded to numerous emergencies across the disaster-prone country by providing food, healthcare, clean drinking water and sanitation, shelter, temporary schooling and psychosocial support. Most recently, Plan has responded to the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan which killed more than 6200 people and affected more than 14 million. Plan also responded to the 2013 Bohol earthquake, 2012 Typhoon Bopha, 2011 Typhoon Sendong and supplying relief during the ongoing conflict in Mindanao.