8 November 2013
The British Red Cross has sent rapid assessment delegates to support the relief effort in the aftermath Typhoon Haiyan, which has left a trail of destruction and casualties across the region.
Red Cross teams have arrived in the city of Tacloban in Leyte, which bore the brunt of the storm when it made landfall on Friday. However, their efforts have been hampered by the complete 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 .There are 15 million people within a 200km radius of the storm’s path, and 2.8 million people in coastal areas likely to have been hit by the storm surge.
It is estimated hundreds of thousands of people have seen their homes destroyed. More than 125,000 people were evacuated in Samar and Leyte, many of whom may not have a home to return to at all.
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 had to flee their homes - 270,000 of whom are now sleeping under tarpaulins or in makeshift shelters and are extremely vulnerable.
The British Red Cross has already contributed £100,000 to the response. The Philippines Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC) have emergency supplies including hygiene kits, water containers, tarpaulins, blankets and sleeping mats ready for distribution from Cebu.
Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is due to make landfall in Vietnam as a category 1-2 Typhoon. The Vietnam Red Cross are assisting with the evacuation of over 100,000 people and helping local people take preventative safety measures. The storm poses a particular danger to central parts of the country still reeling from the impacts of typhoons Wutip and Nari which struck 6 weeks ago and left thousands of people homeless.
The British Red Cross is appealing for funds to support the relief effort.
To donate to please call 0845 054 7200
Give online at www.redcross.org.uk/typhoonappeal