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New ‘super typhoon’ set to hit Philippines

2 October 2009

A young boy is rescued from a submerged houseReuters/Erik de Castro/courtesy www.alertnet.orgAs the Philippines braces itself for an approaching ‘super typhoon’, people in the UK have donated £250,000 in just 24 hours to the British Red Cross Asia Pacific Disasters Appeal. Tesco, Vodafone and Bloomberg have all made generous donations.

Mark Astarita, British Red Cross director of fundraising, said: “These figures show that despite a recession in the UK, the British public can still dig deep when it’s really needed. They understand how desperate the situation is across the Asia Pacific region and want to do what they can to help.

“Red Cross emergency relief teams are on the ground but more supplies are desperately needed and thousands of people have yet to be reached with basic aid.”

Emergency response

This week, the Asia Pacific region has been devastated by a series of escalating disasters including an earthquake that devastated Padang, the capital of the Indonesian island Sumatra. It has claimed more than a thousand lives although this number is expected to rise.

Desperate search and rescue operations are underway as thousands remain trapped by rubble. The British Red Cross is sending an emergency response team to Padang, to help get emergency supplies to the thousands of families who have lost everything; 2.5 tonnes of medical supplies were sent today, Friday 2 October.

In Samoa, an earthquake on 29 September triggered a tsunami which killed at least 110 people and affected up to 15,000 more. Samoa Red Cross volunteers have set up five camps for displaced families and are distributing emergency relief.

Red Cross volunteers

In the Philippines, Red Cross volunteers have been working around the clock after Typhoon Ketsana hit on 26 September. Now they are preparing for Typhoon Parma, a category 5 typhoon, which is set to cause further devastation.

Heikki Vaatamoinen, a Finnish Red Cross aid worker based in the Philippines, said: “The typhoon is predicted to hit the north-east corner of the country. The response mechanism here is very strong; when the forecast was heard, volunteers began to evacuate the public and prepare for the typhoon.”

With millions of people affected by Typhoon Ketsana, and 600,000 made homeless, the Red Cross has opened 130 evacuation centres where more than 75,000 survivors are receiving safe shelter, hot meals and blankets. However, as coastal regions are evacuated over the course of today, resources will be seriously stretched.

Red Cross appeal

An email to Red Cross supporters saw them donate £3,500 within minutes, with average online donations over £30.

However, as the full extent of these multiple disasters continue to emerge it is clear that more funds are desperately needed to keep up the vital emergency response operations.

The Asia Pacific Disasters Appeal will cover past, present and near future flooding events in a number of countries throughout the continent, including those currently affected and those potentially affected in the future.

Find our more about the Asia Pacific disasters