Oxfam aid team witnesses scene of utter destruction in northern most tip of Cebu, Philippines

November 10, 2013
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An Oxfam team assessing the typhoon damage in the northern-most tip of Cebu mainland, Philippines, said today that nearly all the houses and buildings were damaged, power lines are down and there is no electricity in the entire area. The team spoke of seeing children begging for help, holding up signs that read, “Help. We need water, food and medicines.”

The most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall, Haiyan has caused serious damage and affected the lives of as many as 18 million people. Roads to the area were hardly passable with trees and wreckage of houses lining the highway. 

“The scene is one of utter devastation,” said Tata Abella-Bolo, a member of Oxfam’s emergency team in Cebu. “There is no electricity in the entire area and no water. Local emergency food stocks have been distributed but stocks are dwindling. The immediate need is water, both for drinking and for cleaning.”

Oxfam is well positioned to respond quickly to the devastation because teams were already responding to an earthquake that had rocked the Philippines earlier in October. Emergency supplies including hygiene kits and tarps are available though the needs far outstrip the available supply.

Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada, said in a statement today: “Oxfam has launched an urgent appeal to help the people of the Philippines as part of the Humanitarian Coalition. We are coordinating our efforts here and on the ground to ensure our response is as quick and effective as possible. We call on Canadians to be generous in supporting the millions of families in need.”

The Humanitarian Coalition and its member organizations (Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec, Care Canada, Save the Children Canada, Plan Canada) will work together to ensure a strong Canadian response to the crisis.

Oxfam staff in the Philippines have travelled to the hardest hit parts of the country to assess the damage and confirm who best to respond. After consultation with other agencies and government officials, Oxfam will focus its response in the Samar provinces, a region that otherwise would likely be underserved. Working with Philippine partners and in some cases local governments, we will provide water, sanitation, hygiene and cash support, targeting 250,000 people.

To make a donation, please go to www.oxfam.ca or www.together.ca.


Oxfam Canada welcomes the Government of Canada’s commitment to match funds donated up to December 9 to humanitarian aid for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.


The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

For more information:

Melanie Gallant
Media Relations



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