Philippines

Typhoons wreak havoc in the Philippines

Massive and widespread flooding and landslides have left around 800,000 people in need of help and more than1,000 people dead or missing since the most recent of a series of typhoons hit the Philippines.

Super typhoon Nanmadoe struck the eastern coast of Luzon, the largest and most densely populated island. Widespread and often illegal logging has been blamed for exacerbating mudslides that have buried homes and farmland and blocked roads.

Flash floods have swept boulders and logs downstream with great force, devastating homes and infrastructure.

Christian Aid-supported organisations working in the region say conditions are making relief work difficult. Around 200,000 people in the worst affected areas in and around the towns of Infanta, Real and Nakar can only be reached by sea. The journey by road to the capital, Manila, which normally takes a couple of hours is now impossible.

Some people are managing to reach safety in small boats but many are stranded by floodwaters or trapped by mud and debris.

There is an urgent need for food, shelter, water and sanitation, as well as medical supplies to clean infected wounds and treat diarrhoea - often a killer in disaster situations.

Christian Aid has sent an assessment team to the area and is working with the Social Action Centre of the Roman Catholic Prelature of Infanta, whose community-based disaster teams are already responding by distributing stocks of emergency supplies.

The Prelature is trucking food supplies to the town of Mauban, south of the worst affected areas, taking it by barge - guarded by community volunteers to prevent looting - and distributing it from a pier just outside Infanta.

It estimates that 70,000 people have lost their houses, possessions and jobs and will need long-term help to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.

Further south in Bicol Province, the typhoon has devastated fishing communities and brought down power lines. Christian Aid partner COPE is responding

Christian Aid is making =A350,000 available for immediate help and will plan further work as soon as more information becomes available.