Red Cross launches international appeal after Typhoon Megi batters Philippines
As details of the devastation caused by typhoon Megi continue to emerge, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching an international appeal seeking 4.2 million Swiss francs (USD 4.3 million/EUR 3.1 million). The funds will support ongoing relief and recovery efforts carried out by the Philippine Red Cross which has been assisting affected communities since the typhoon struck the northern part of the country last Monday, claiming 31 lives and causing severe damage across four regions.
It is estimated that 427,300 families (2 million people) have been affected by the typhoon, with 8,000 people sheltered in 22 evacuation centers. National and local emergency and rescue teams from the Red Cross have been active on the ground. A rapid survey of the damage revealed an urgent need for shelter materials, since 31,000 houses have been destroyed and 118,000 are estimated to be partially damaged.
"Survivors continue to trickle out of evacuation centers, not because they have homes to return to, but to salvage whatever they can. They need every support to rebuild their lives and to live in dignity," says Richard Gordon, Philippine Red Cross Chairman.
The Philippine Red Cross has provided – and continues to provide – food and non-food items to the most vulnerable families in the hardest hit provinces. The national headquarters dispatched additional relief supplies to enable its chapters to serve people displaced by the typhoon in the worst-affected provinces of Cagayan, Kalinga, Isabela, La Union and Pangasinan provinces. Also dispatched were tarpaulins to meet the immediate needs of 7,000 people in Isabela. As of 25 October, Red Cross chapters had served around 16,000 people with relief supplies such as food, water storage containers and sleeping items.
The IFRC appeal will help the Philippine Red Cross to provide relief and early recovery support to 60,000 people across the five worst-hit provinces over the next 12 months. The operation will focus on distributions of food and non-food items and shelter repair kits as well as providing essential water storage and hygiene items together with hygiene promotion.
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons every year, roughly a third of which are destructive. In this region, experts have predicted an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climatic events due to the effects of climate change. In late September 2009, Typhoon Ketsana lashed parts of Luzon, bringing unprecedented rains. Ketsana was shortly followed by Typhoon Parma. The combined effects of the two typhoons resulted in widespread flooding which left a trail of destruction and killed 1,000 people. (Necephor Mghendi, IFRC)