Early evacuation helped save lives as the storm advanced.
Downgraded from typhoon status, tropical storm Hagupit is continuing to churn across the Philippines as Oxfam teams begin to survey the needs of some of the more than 700,000 people the government helped to evacuate in advance of powerful winds and heavy rains.
“The Philippine government has just led one of the world’s largest peacetime evacuations across hazard-prone areas,” said Justin Morgan, Oxfam’s country director of the Philippines program. “The successful evacuation of residents by communities and governments has saved lives. Oxfam is ready and willing to work with the government and other humanitarian partners in ensuring the safety and dignity of any communities affected by Hagupit.”
Some of those communities are still trying to recover from the severe battering they suffered just 13 months ago from Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm ever recorded to make landfall. That storm left more than 6,000 people dead and displaced four million others.
While the full extent of damage from Hagupit is not known yet, Oxfam, working with the International Organization for Migration and in coordination with the local government, has begun visits to 20 of the 56 evacuation centers in Tacloban. The capital of Leyte province, that city saw widespread destruction and thousands of deaths from Haiyan. Oxfam will be focusing on the needs people have for clean water and sanitation during its assessment visits.
In preparation for the storm, Oxfam readied eight teams for deployment in Leyte, four teams in Eastern Samar, three in northern Cebu, two in Mindano, and one in Manila.
Hagupit, with winds of about 125 miles per hour, originally made landfall on Eastern Samar, plowing into the town of Dolores. The town’s mayor was quoted in a news report saying that storm had wiped out about 80 percent of the homes in his community.
“Depending on the extent of the damage on their homes, hundreds of thousands of displaced communities will need support in the next few days or weeks,” said Morgan.
We’re working closely with our staff, the government, and other humanitarian partners to ensure our quick response to emergency needs as they arise.