Philippines: Thousands of typhoon-affected communities need urgent help

originally posted on October 28, 2016


Philippines/Kuala Lumpur, 28 October 2016 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is deeply concerned about the welfare of thousands of people affected by Super Typhoon Haima in Northern Philippines, as details of the damage left behind by the disaster begin to emerge.

It is estimated that there are more than 1 million households within the 100-kilometre radius of the typhoon’s track, which spread over 185 municipalities and cities in 13 provinces. One week after Haima made landfall, more than 46,000 houses were reported damaged, while the estimated cost of the typhoon’s destruction of agricultural land in the affected areas amounts to 1 billon Philippine Pesos (around 20 million US dollars). These numbers are expected to increase as more details are gathered in the coming days.

In many parts of the typhoon-hit areas, farmers, sharecroppers and casual labourers who rely on rice and corn fields or high value crops like coffee beans for income now find their livelihoods crippled.  “It is bad enough that many of these farmers’ homes have been badly damaged – they rely on these crops to feed their families. Now, most have little choice but to consume what they can salvage,” said Kari Isomaa, IFRC Head of Delegation in the Philippines.

“There is an urgent need for support in the areas of shelter and livelihood to help these communities recover from their ordeal. We need to act fast and help them get back on their feet, as it has been projected that more typhoons may affect the Philippines before the year ends.”

The Philippine Red Cross had deployed its response teams including staff, volunteers and Water and Search and Rescue units before Typhoon Haima hit landmass, as a preparedness measure. To date, the Red Cross chapters in the affected provinces have assisted more than 12,000 people with various services including search and rescue, hot meals and psychosocial support. As the emergency operation continues, the Red Cross is distributing relief items including mosquito nets, sleeping mats, blankets, jerry cans and hygiene kits. An unconditional cash grant will also be provided for 2,000 families to help them meet their most urgent household needs.

On 23 October, the IFRC launched an emergency appeal of 3 million Swiss francs (3 million US dollars) to support the Philippine Red Cross in providing immediate relief and humanitarian assistance to 20,000 people affected by Typhoon Haima. The appeal, which covers a period of 10 months, focuses on meeting people’s most urgent needs including food, access to safe drinking water, essential household items, shelter and cash grants to help people restart their livelihoods. The appeal will also focus on supporting health awareness and disease prevention activities, as well as psychosocial support.

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