13 months after Typhoon Haiyan devastated large regions of the Philippines, the islands braced for more destruction as Super Typhoon Hagupit made landfall on Saturday night.
Typhoon Hagupit (referred to locally as Ruby) hit first near Dolores in eastern Samar on Saturday morning, and struck Cataingan the following morning. While the typhoon has been downgraded to a tropical storm, heavy rains and 78-mph winds continue to lash Samar and Leyte. Tacloban City, where thousands perished in Typhoon Haiyan last year, was struck yet again by Hagupit over the weekend.
The good news is that the local authorities learned important lessons from Typhoon Haiyan, after which many Filipinos accused the government of failing to give adequate warning. A command centre for rescue and relief operations was established in Borongan as the storm approached, which assisted residents moving to higher ground and into solid buildings such as churches and schools. The Philippines carried out one of its largest ever peacetime evacuations, re-locating more than a million people by Monday evening.
Action Against Hunger/Action Contre la Faim (ACF) was on the scene as the storm approached, helping to prepare evacuated residents for the worst. Action Against Hunger’s teams provided 17,000 litres of drinking water to over 2500 relocated families in three evacuation centres, plus the Tacloban Astrodome. Action Against Hunger’s local staff prepositioned aid throughout the Philippines to support affected families with hygiene kits, water kits, water treatment facilities, and emergency food packages ready to be distributed.
Action Against Hunger is sending rapid assessment teams to the regions already struck by the storm to investigate the needs of affected communities. The teams will reach north and south Samar today, and will consolidate information and community feedback.
Action Against Hunger has been helping to rebuild regions devastated during Typhoon Haiyan for the past 13 months. One of the strongest storms in recorded history, Typhoon Haiyan left four million people homeless, and more than 14 million people in desperate need of aid. A million Filipinos were still living in temporary shelters and tents, needing to have their homes rebuilt from the last storm.
Action Against Hunger teams have remained on the scene, delivering emergency food rations to people in need and screening children under five for malnutrition. Action Against Hunger also works to promote safe sanitation and hygiene practices, recognizing these as integral components of staving off malnutrition. Action Against Hunger is committed to long-term reconstruction across the Philippines, and will remain in place to help rehabilitate the region.