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CARE and its partners are responding to the needs of families affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has torn a path across central Philippines, affecting an estimated 10 million people.
More than 790,000 people have been evacuated because of the typhoon, with heavy rains, storm surges and winds of up to 275 kilometres per hour battering central Philippines since Friday. CARE Philippines’ disaster reduction advisor, Celso Dulce said information was beginning to come in that indicated the extent of destruction caused by Haiyan.
“We are now receiving reports from CARE partners that indicate extensive damage to houses, health centres, schools and community buildings, as well as crops and other livelihood assets. The official death toll stands at four, however unconfirmed reports in local media say more than 100 people have died.”
Mr Dulce said areas of Southern Leyte Province had been particularly hard hit, including St Bernard Municipality, which in 2006 suffered a massive landslide that killed more than 1,000 people.
“Reports are coming in from CARE workers and our partners in St Bernard that parts of the area are severely flooded and landslides have occurred in at least two communities. The course of the nearby Lawigan River has diverted into urban areas, and houses rebuilt for those who survived the 2006 landslide have been damaged.”
Mr Dulce said CARE and its partners were now mobilising resources to deliver assistance to affected communities.
“We have teams travelling to affected areas such as Bohol Province and Guiuan in Eastern Samar Province, where Haiyan first made landfall. These teams will be assessing the needs of communities and providing critical assistance including emergency shelter, food and water.”
He added that ensuring remote areas – many of which have been cut off following Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction – were supported in the immediate aftermath of a disaster of this magnitude was a priority.
“Getting information to and from remote, hard-to-reach areas is still extremely difficult due to power outages, downed cell phone sites, blocked roads and airport closures. Importantly, CARE and its partners will be working to deliver assistance to remote communities affected by this disaster,” he said.
If Typhoon Haiyan stays on track, it is forecasted to also hit central and northern Vietnam on Sunday morning, in the same areas that were affected by recent storms, potentially causing further damage to already weakened livelihoods and infrastructure. CARE teams in Vietnam are preparing for a potential impact and working closely with the Government of Vietnam, which has a range of systems in place to warn, evacuate and respond to emergencies.
CARE has worked in the Philippines since 1949, providing emergency relief when disaster strikes and helping communities prepare for disasters. CARE’s past responses in the Philippines have included typhoon Bopha in 2012 and typhoon Ketsana in 2009.
CARE has been working in Vietnam since 1989 delivering long-term development programs to vulnerable and poor communities in the country in close coordination with the government authorities.
CARE’s emergency response teams specialise in providing life-saving food, water, shelter and health care. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE, which works in 84 countries around the world, places a special focus on women, children and other vulnerable populations, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. In 2012, our emergency response and recovery projects reached nearly 14 million people in 40 countries.