10 November 2013
The British Red Cross is sending a relief team to the Philippines as thousands are feared dead in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Red Cross teams are already in the city of Tacloban in Leyte, which bore the brunt of the storm when it made landfall on Friday. But their efforts have been hampered by the destruction of communication and transport links, with many roads into the affected areas completely blocked.
Reports from the worst hit areas across the archipelago tell of a catastrophic humanitarian impact.
It is estimated hundreds of thousands of people have seen their home destroyed by the storm - also known as Typhoon Yolada. More than 125,000 people were evacuated in Samar and Leyte, many of whom may not have a home to return to.
Nichola Jones, British Red Cross delegate in Cebu said: "The typhoon has left total devastation in its wake - houses have been wiped out and entire towns affected. Trees are uprooted, power lines are down and there is severe flooding. We now fear that thousands of people may have lost their lives.”
Haiyan also brought high winds and torrential rain to Bohol, Central Visayas - an island already devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake just three weeks ago. Tens of thousands of buildings were razed to the ground in the disaster and more than 340,000 people fled their homes - 270,000 of whom have been sleeping under tarpaulins or in makeshift shelters and are extremely vulnerable.
The British Red Cross has already contributed £100,000 to the response and is appealing to the public for donations to support the large-scale relief effort.The Philippines Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC) will be distributing hygiene kits, water containers, tarpaulins, blankets and sleeping mats to the hardest-hit areas.
Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is heading west and is due to make landfall in Vietnam as a category 1-2 Typhoon. The Vietnam Red Cross is supporting the evacuation of more than 100,000 people and helping local people take preventative safety measures.
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