Fears that heavy rains will hinder Typhoon Haiyan aid response

By agency reporter
November 12, 2013

Further heavy rains forecast for the southern Philippines over the next 48 hours could seriously affect the progress of the huge emergency response in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, says UK-based churches' global development agency Christian Aid.

Lifelines such as power and communications, roads, bridges and ports have already been severely damaged and are not expected to be restored for another four to eight weeks, hindering the ability of aid workers to reach remote communities.

The threat of further heavy rain is of deep concern as an estimated 9.5 million people have already been affected across nine regions and almost 620,000 people have been displaced according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Christian Aid, which has an office in Manila, has deployed three rapid response teams to affected areas in Samar, Leyte and Panay to assess the needs of communities and prepare its humanitarian response. Working with local partner organisations the immediate need is to provide food, shelter repair materials and hygiene kits.

The NGO is receiving reports that on the southern island of Samar, 95 per cent of all buildings have been damaged, but as yet there is no clear indication as to the number of casualties.

Cristina Ruiz, Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia, commented: "The needs of the communities affected by this disaster are huge; as yet we don’t even know the full extent. More rain is expected within the next few days which will greatly hinder our assessments and the delivery of essential food and emergency shelter to those in desperate need. Without swift humanitarian assistance the current situation could very quickly deteriorate even further.

"Christian Aid is planning to support the worst affected communities, marginal and landless farmers, fishing communities, female-headed households, older people and children.

"The Philippines has a long history of typhoons and our partners work year-round with vulnerable communities to provide training to help them prepare for emergencies such as this. However the scale of this typhoon was simply overwhelming.’

Haiyan is the 25th tropical storm to hit the island group this year. Typhoon Bopha in 2012 killed more than 1,100 people and caused more than US$1 billion worth of damage. Typhoons in 2006 and 2011 also each killed more than 1,200 people.

* Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal in the UK for Typhoon Haiyan. To donate, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/philippines-typhoon, call 08080 004 004 or Text HELP to 70007 to donate £5.

[Ekk/3]

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