Tacloban, PHILIPPINES (December 6, 2014) — World Vision disaster response teams are on high alert on Leyte, Samar, and Panay islands as punishing winds and rains from Typhoon Hagupit track northwest over the central Philippines.
Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in Eastern Samar province on Saturday evening local time. It reached land with winds at less than “super typhoon” speeds, so that the greatest danger posed is likely from excessive rains, flooding, and landslides.
As typhoon Hagupit approaches with fierce howling winds, residents of Tacloban know too well the impact of a fierce storm. In Tacloban alone, there are 49 evacuation centers filled with more than 7,500 families — more than 30,700 people. In the region of Haiyan-affected communities, more than 616,500 people have voluntarily evacuated to safer areas.
Pregnant women due in the next two weeks have been advised not to go to the evacuation centers, but some mothers refuse to leave their families at this critical time. Already there are reports of two women giving birth in evacuation centers in Tacloban alone.
World Vision has been preparing in advance, ensuring that emergency food, hygiene kits and general emergency items are ready for fast response — enough to provide for 11,000 of the most vulnerable families (or 55,000 people) in the wake of the storm.
World Vision Response Director Andrew Rosauer said that people have been appropriately cautious, taking storm warnings seriously. “Typhoon Hagupit has rekindled tragic memories from last year,” Rosauer said about the people evacuated from the most dangerous areas in Tacloban. “Storm warnings were communicated well in advance, and people began packing their necessities and swiftly moving their loved ones off to relatives’ houses, churches or the designated evacuation centers.” he said.
Even before the typhoon had officially made landfall, violent winds were thrashing Tacloban, sending roofs flying and causing power outages. People are terrified about what is yet to come.
In Albay province, located south of Tacloban, more than 12,000 families have fled to safety when weather authorities have warned that Hagupit could bring heavy rains to trigger mudslides and lava flows at the foot of the restive Mayon volcano. This is reminiscent of Typhoon Durian disaster in 2006 that killed more than 1000 people.
Rosario Moral, 79 is one of the people at an evacuation center in Albay. “We’ve been staying here for nearly three months since we fear the volcano and now we have to weather the storm. It’s better to count days in evacuation centers than count casualties among your loved ones,” she says.
World Vision recently installed Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene facilities like water tanks, toilets and communal kitchens in 13 evacuation centers in Albay, following the threat of an eruption of Mayon months ago.
In the quake-hit Bohol and Haiyan-stricken areas of Cebu, Panay, Leyte and Samar all are under the mercy of floods, landslides and storm surge threatening post-disaster recovery work in these areas.
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- 616,500 people have voluntarily evacuated, including half of the residents of Tacloban
- Storm already bringing howling winds, strong rain
- World Vision ready with emergency relief items for 55,000 in storm’s wake