As Typhoon Hagupit (local name Ruby) escalates to super typhoon status, with maximum sustained winds of 133 mph, aid workers of international humanitarian group Oxfam are on high alert, activating contingency plans and preparing stocks of emergency assistance.
“Rapid assessment teams throughout the country are currently on standby and ready to go to affected areas to determine the scale of response needed,” said Oxfam country director Justin Morgan. “We are especially watchful on areas that are still recovering from last year’s Super Typhoon Haiyan. We are concerned that these households will be less able to cope with potential impacts of Typhoon Hagupit on their homes and on their livelihoods.”
Oxfam is preparing household water kits, which enable families to make their drinking water safe, as well as hygiene kits, comprised of basic sanitation items like anti-bacterial soap as well as sleeping mats and blankets, underwear, toothpaste and toothbrushes, among other items. For women with newborn babies, Oxfam is preparing mother-and-newborn kits that include items such as baby blankets and mats, baby clothing items and maternity napkins.
Morgan added that Oxfam aid workers are particularly aware of the importance of ensuring the protection of women and girls, who are most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters.
“Based on previous disasters in the Philippines, women and girls are at increased risk of -gender based violence and human trafficking, while pregnant and lactating mothers are more exposed to health risks,” said Morgan. “Knowing this, Oxfam has integrated gendered considerations into its assessments tools, with gender specialists as part of all of its rapid assessment teams. Oxfam is also committed to working with government and other humanitarian partners to ensure the rights of women are upheld through any emergency response, and that their particular needs and capacities are taken into account."