CAFOD responds to catastrophic Philippines typhoon

10 November 2013

People in Philippines flee for safety during Typhoon Haiyan

[REUTERS/Zander Casas - courtesy of alertnet]

Typhoon Haiyan – known locally as Yolanda – swept across the Philippines on Friday with winds of up to 235 kph, leaving a trail of massive destruction in its wake.

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With power still down in many areas, the full extent of the damage is not yet known, but the lives of 9.8 million people have been torn apart.

The typhoon was one of the strongest ever to make landfall, flattening thousands of houses, and destroying schools and an airport in the eastern city of Tacloban.

There are dead people everywhere. There is no water or power. Volunteers are trying to manage the disaster."

Rey Barnido

Matthew Carter, Head of CAFOD’s Humanitarian Department, said: “Power lines, phone lines and mobile towers have all been damaged, making communication very difficult – but it’s clear that the typhoon has had a catastrophic impact.

“Our local partners are on the ground in the worst hit areas, responding to the most immediate needs.

“We are also continuing to provide food and shelter to people who lost their homes in the earthquake on the island of Bohol last month. The typhoon has added to the destruction, and made it more difficult to deliver aid – but we’re doing everything we can to reach people in isolated areas.”

Rey Barnido is a parish aid worker from Bohol who has gone to Tacloban as part of the emergency effort. He works with our partner Caritas Philippines. He said: "Patients are overflowing from the regional hospital in Tacloban. There are dead people everywhere. There is no water or power. Volunteers are trying to manage the disaster. It looks as if nuclear bombs were dropped."

Greg Auberry, the regional director of our partner Catholic Relief Services, said: “The pain of another disaster is devastating. We’re currently moving tarpaulins to Cebu City so that we can provide 8,000 families with inevitable shelter needs. Our response teams are travelling to the areas hardest hit to determine exactly what people need and how we can help them.”

Over the next few days, the typhoon is likely to cause more devastation in the Mekong River basin as it hits the coast of Vietnam. It may also add to the flooding in Cambodia, where more than 140,000 are already homeless.

Our partners across the region are ensuring that emergency supplies are in place. We have pledged an initial £50,000 to respond.

CAFOD has worked in the Philippines since 1969. We have recently responded to several emergencies in the country, including Tropical Storm Washi in 2011, Typhoon Bopha in 2012 and the earthquake that hit Bohol island last month. 

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