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Concern grows as Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines

6 December 2014

The Red Cross is preparing its emergency response to Typhoon Hagupit, after it struck the Philippines on Saturday afternoon.

The first impacts of the severe weather are being felt along the eastern coastline of central Philippines – with storm surges, high winds and heavy rainfall all being reported.

Estimates by the authorities and UN agencies indicate that up to 56 million people (more than half the population of Philippines) are at risk from the typhoon.

It is one of the strongest storms to hit this year and comes just 13 months after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan left several thousand dead in its wake.

‘Bracing ourselves’

British Red Cross and IFRC (International Federation of the Red Cross) representative, Nichola Jones is in Lucena, Quezon province: one of the areas that may be hit hardest by Typhoon Hagupit – known locally as Ruby.

She said: “The roads were packed earlier on with people trying to beat the typhoon back to their loved ones to get ready for the worst.

“Landslides and flash-flooding are a major concern in this area and we are expecting dangerous levels of rainfall.

“The power has been cut and we are bracing ourselves. Hagupit's slow grind across the country is what could make it potentially deadly. It will affect millions.”

‘Ready to go’

Philippines Red Cross disaster response teams are on standby and monitoring the situation closely, as they fear widespread damage from the typhoon. Volunteers have already been in action, supporting the massive evacuation effort in high-risk areas.

Relief items such as food supplies, sleeping mats and hygiene kits have been packed. Emergency equipment including water trucks, generators, chainsaws and communications gear are ready for use in Leyte, Samar and Cebu. Extra staff have been deployed to Tacloban.

The IFRC has got packs in place to help up to 30,000 families in Manila, Cebu and Subic, with blankets, sleeping mats, bed sheets, jerry cans and mosquito nets.

In Lucena, Nichola Jones reports: “Red Cross disaster teams are ready to go in this area too - with emergency supplies for families, a mobile clinic, rescue boat and ambulances.”

Danger to recovery

Typhoon Hagupit comes just a year after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013. Over 6,000 people lost their lives and millions of homes were destroyed. 

The Red Cross movement has been working closely with communities ever since helping with recovery efforts.

Nearly 20,000 households have either had their houses repaired or rebuilt and close to 30,000 households have been supported to recover their lost livelihoods. The work continues.

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