Oxfam aid workers have described the scene in typhoon-struck Philippines as one of “utter devastation”; RedR offers aid agencies free access to recruit RedR members
Today the attention of the world is on the Philippines where Oxfam aid workers have described the scene in the immediate aftermath of super typhoon Haiyam as one of “utter devastation”.
Immediate needs are water, food, medicines and shelter after super typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Friday. Early estimates suggest 4Mpeople are affected and that over 10,000 people may have lost their lives.
An Oxfam team of aid experts assessing level of typhoon damage in Daanbantayan the northern-most tip of Cebu mainland said today that nearly all the houses and buildings were damaged, power lines down and no electricity in the entire municipality. Roads to the area were hardly passable with trees and wreckage of houses lining the highway.
“The scene is one of utter devastation. There is no electricity in the entire area and no water. Local emergency food stocks have been distributed but stocks are dwindling. The immediate need is water, both for drinking and both for cleaning,” said Tata Abella-Bolo, a member Oxfam’s emergency team in Cebu.
Keep up to date with developments here:
2.30pm update: View from the field with CARE International’s Sandra Bulling
Sandra Bulling is CARE International emergency communications officer, and is with CARE’s emergency team in the areas affected by the Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. She filed this report at 7pm local time today.
1.30pm update: CARE International response
CARE International staff are working with CARE Philippines staff and partners to assess the situation and meet essential needs. Its initial target is to reach 150,000 people in 30,000 households.
CARE’s emergency response team is deploying to assess the urgent needs of communities who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Its expertise lies in shelter, food, and safe water. But its assessment teams and partners are having difficulty in accessing parts of the central Philippines as many roads are still blocked and communications are down. One of its staff reported that an 11km round trip is taking approximately six hours.
It is particularly tough in remote areas – and CARE warned that it really does not have any word on the impact and potential loss of life in many of these areas. Key areas affected are: Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar and Eastern Samar in central Philippines.
CARE has raised an appeal to urgently provide those affected with water, food and shelter: www.careinternational.org.uk
1pm update: RedR support for agencies
RedR is offering aid agencies free access to recruit RedR Members – pre assessed skilled and experienced humanitarians – who are available to be deployed to join local teams. Any agency who wishes to contact its pool of Members should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7840 6000. A number of RedR Members have already travelled to the area to support teams on the ground.
RedR has decided that it will not yet be deploying a capacity building team to the region in direct response to this emergency. It said the focus of the response at this stage is immediate life saving activities and the aid agencies it supports throughout the year are already responding through their local teams and have launched appeals to help with the resources they need to carry out relief programmes.
It said the humanitarian coordination mechanism known as the “Cluster system” has been activated. RedR has been instrumental over the last five years in training Cluster Coordinators in humanitarian coordination, particularly in the areas of water and sanitation, hygiene, health, education and child protection and people will use these skills to great effect in the current emergency.
If you would like to make a donation to support RedR’s work preparing for disaster such as this please visit: www.redr.org.uk/donate or call 020 7840 6000
RedR said that the Philippines is relatively prepared for such events as this typhoon. Investment has been made into building the capacity of appropriate authorities and local organisations and aid agencies have teams in place throughout the year. Weather monitoring, emergency preparedness procedures and evacuation plans have all helped the civil and military authorities anticipate and respond to the needs of their population. The scale of the storm however has inevitably led to significant shortages of food, medicine and other key supplied and as such the government have appealed for international assistance which has already started to arrive.
There is known to be significant damage to infrastructure and devastating damage to the city of Tacloban. The challenges for humanitarian response in urban settings is very different from rural relief. For this reason, RedR launched a new project this year called Ready to Respond: Urban Disasters. The project, funded by Lloyd’s Charities Trust, will improve disaster relief by filling current gaps in specialist, technical knowledge of rebuilding urban infrastructure. As a result, in the future emergencies such as today’s will be better predicted and response will be improved.
RedR has just released a report examining the technical capacity gaps which can be downloaded here.
RedR believes that solutions to future urban disasters can only be found through collaborations between the private sector, academia and the humanitarian sector. This report will be discussed at a seminar this Thursday which brings together key representatives of these sectors at Lloyd’s.
During this three year project RedR will be developing a roster of specialist technical experts who can respond to the particular needs of the urban environment and delivering training in support.