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Manila, Philippines – Despite being tagged as a super typhoon, the damages and destruction caused by typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha) was not as severe as last year’s tropical storm Sendong which affected similar areas, said international humanitarian aid organization Oxfam.
“The pre-emptive evacuation and other preparatory measures taken by local government officials together with the cooperation of residents saved lives,” said Paul Del Rosario, Humanitarian Coordinator for Oxfam in the Philippines. “However, our rapid assessment teams are currently on the ground to determine how Oxfam will respond to urgent needs.”
Oxfam’s rapid assessment teams, supported by local partners, are currently in Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Palawan. Typhoon Pablo will weaken as it moves toward Northern Palawan before finally existing out of the Philippines Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Thursday, December 6, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomic Services Agency (PAGASA).
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) currently estimates 82 deaths and 24 missing. In Cagayan de Oro City, an area badly hit by Typhoon Washi in December 2011, there were no recorded casualties according to news reports, underscoring the local government and the community’s preparedness facing a disaster.
A total of 24,380 families or 120,627 individuals were affected in Regions VIII (Eastern Visayas), X (Northern Mindanao), XI (Davao Region) and XIII (Caraga),of which 21,560 families or 106,730 individuals are currently displaced and are being served inside and outside evacuation centers.
Oxfam is currently the convenor of the Philippine INGO Network (PINGON), a network of international and national humanitarian groups, and is working with the group to coordinate preparedness measures. Oxfam is also working closely with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Office of Civil Defence (OCD).