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Philippines Devastated by Super Typhoon: What Aid Organizations Are Saying


A Category 5 Super Typhoon, with maximum sustained winds exceeding 160 mph, ripped through the central Philippines on Friday.  The storm, called Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines) was the strongest storm ever to hit the Philippines, will likely be the strongest storm to form on Earth this year, and may be one of the strongest tropical cyclones in recorded history.   The organization Doctors Without Borders put it bluntly, "This sort of disaster is unprecedented in the Philippines. The effect is something like a massive earthquake followed by huge floods."


The death toll from the storm is above 5,700 people, with over 1,000 people still missing.  The Red Cross estimates that the storm killed more than 1,000 people in one city alone and 200 in another province, as reports of casualties begin to emerge.  Hundreds of thousands of people are living in makeshift shelters after their homes were damaged or destroyed.  Rescue teams are finding it hard to reach remote areas due to washed out roads.   Some areas are experiencing a total communications blackout as communication lines between some provinces remain broken. 


According to Oxfam, Cebu local officials are reporting "that virtually every home and building has sustained damage. Even the town hall – which had served as the evacuation center – needed to be evacuated."  Also in Tata Abella-Bolo, according to a member of the Oxfam team, "The scene is one of utter devastation. There is no electricity in the entire area and no water. Local emergency food stocks have been distributed but stocks are dwindling. The immediate need is water."


WorldVision Philippines reports that at more than 100 evacuation centers in the affected area, "the greatest needs include food, clean water, and emergency shelter supplies."  The storm affected an estimated 25 million people in Visayas and Luzon alone.   In Bohol, the area hit hardest by an earthquake in October, 5,000 families are temporarily sheltered in makeshift tents following the recent earthquake, and people are still afraid to go inside buildings, despite urging by the government to go into evacuation centers.    In Cebu virtually every home and building has sustained damage.  


Doctors Without Borders reports that a storm surge hit the regional hospital in Tacloban, and  "much of its medical equipment was washed away. It’s unclear yet what was left."  Yet "with so many houses and buildings having collapsed because of the strong winds, we’re expecting to see some significant injuries."


Donate to Relief Efforts:

  • Donate to the Philippine Red Cross.   Red Cross Philippines has deployed assessment, rescue and relief teams to evaluate the damage and to support rescue efforts.   They also helped to evacuate and shelter more than 125,000 families ahead of Haiyan’s landfall.
  • Donate to the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross reports that it "is in close contact with our counterparts in the Philippines and is ready to provide assistance if requested."
  • Donate to World VisionWorld Vision is gathering resources to assist 1.2 million people (240,000 families) with food, non-food items, hygiene kits, emergency shelter, and protection, especially for children and women.
  • Donate to UNICEF.  UNICEF reports that it is "closely monitoring the situation and is prepared with prepositioned supplies to quickly respond to children’s needs in terms of nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection." and is ready to deploy a team to "ascertain needs of affected children, together with government, UN agencies and NGO partners on the ground."
  • Donate to AmeriCares AmeriCares reports that emergency medical aid is underway and a relief team is deploying to the Philippines to help survivors of super Typhoon Haiyan.  The organization had pre-positioned emergency medicines and supplies ready to help families displaced by the storm, and is express shipping medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. AmeriCares is also providing emergency funding for partner organizations in the Philippines to purchase and distribute critical relief supplies in the hardest-hit areas.
  • Donate to Oxfam: Oxfam reports that its staff are "now on the ground in Northern Cebu, Northern and Eastern Samar and Leyte in the Eastern Visayas region of the country."
  • Donate to the World Food Program/WFP: WFP’s response "has been in motion from day one. High Energy Biscuits are already on their way to hungry families." 
  • Donate to Doctors Without Borders/MSF:  MSF has identified one functional medical center inTacloban, which it will "start supporting with staff, supplies and equipment in the next couple of days."  Their strategy "will be to move outwards from Tacloban town to the surrounding region and islands."   Eastern Samar will probably be their next priority, and will mean "using a helicopter to assess the more rural areas and then speed boats and barges to visit, treat and potentially supply the coastline populations through mobile teams." 


This raw footage from Bella News shows the Typhoon in its full force: 


WorldVision asks, "Please pray for children, families, and communities affected by this dangerous storm, and pray for those working to assist those who are being forced to evacuate their homes. Pray especially that the damage and death toll from this emergency would be minimal."


A video from the World Food Program about their relief efforts: