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World Vision dispatches teams to assess damage in wake of Typhoon Bopha

  • Roads and bridges rendered impassable
  • Death toll may be lessened due to preparations by communities, government
  • Staff report winds, rain felt as strong as an earthquake

Media contact:

Lauren Fisher

Families take shelter in evacuation centersManila, PHILIPPINES (December 5, 2012)As Typhoon Bopha begins to wane, World Vision has dispatched teams to work with local government and determine the extent of damage brought by the typhoon’s furious winds, flashfloods and landslides in the hard-hit areas of Northern Mindanao and the Visayas.

Already World Vision has received reports from staff of severe damage to houses. National roads and bridges have been flooded and rendered impassable in parts of Mindanao. Typhoon-stricken areas immediately faced power and communication cut-offs which further isolated villages in rural areas.

“So many lost their houses regardless if they were made of concrete or wood. Even the houses along the highway were damaged. It is heart-breaking to see so many people crying," said Precious Pedrosa, a resident in a hard-hit area of Mindanao. “They were not able to save anything except a few clothes and some things they can carry. I am so concerned seeing the children. People do not know where to go as even the evacuation center is flooded and damaged.”

More than 50,000 people took refuge in evacuation centers in typhoon-hit areas in Mindanao and Visayas, as strong winds and heavy rains hammered the provinces of southern Philippines when Bopha made a landfall early Tuesday morning.

“I felt like there was an earthquake because the winds and rain were so strong. Our neighbor’s houses were totally damaged. The roof of my house was also blown away,” said Herbert Yepis, a responding World Vision staff member in Mindanao .

Disaster authorities report at least 40 deaths from the storm. However, there are also encouraging signs that many people heeded the warnings and went to evacuation centers. So far reports of casualties are much lower than Typhoon Washi, which hit the same area last year, killing more than 1,000.

"We remain hopeful that the casualties will stay low because of the tremendous efforts set by government in partnership with communities to advance child-focused disaster risk reduction practices that significantly reduce deaths," said Elnora Avarientos, executive director of programs for World Vision in the Philippines.

World Vision is standing by to assist with food and other items like blankets once the typhoon survivors' needs are determined. The Philippines, ranked the third-most disaster-prone country in the world, experiences around 20 typhoons a year. Bopha is the 16th typhoon to enter the country this year. Weather authorities expect another typhoon before the year ends.

World Vision assisted affected families in the hardest-hit communities in the urban centers and rural areas through its Washi Emergency Response last year. World Vision was able to provide food and food-for-work assistance, water purifying packets and school kits for children, helping more than 50,000 people, including 10,000 children.

On-the-ground interviews and photos are available. For more information please contact Lauren Fisher at +1.206.310.5476.

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews

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