Typhoon Hagupit: Oxfam Ready with Emergency Assistance as Disaster Preparedness Saves Lives
Oxfam Canada has pledged funds to support humanitarian work in the wake of Typhoon Hagupit making landfall in the Philippines. Typhoon Hagupit struck the Philippines in Dolores, Samar, in Visayas (Central Philippines).
Oxfam’s Philippines office has activated its contingency plans and readied stocks of emergency assistance, including hygiene and clean water kits and water bladders that can support water supply to evacuations centres.
Oxfam has staff on the ground and its rapid assessment teams, comprised of experts in livelihoods, water and sanitation, protection and gender, are ready to be deployed in affected areas.
The Typhoon, known locally as Ruby, hit a region still recovering from the destruction caused by last year’s super Typhoon Haiyan. Haiyan decimated the central region of the archipelago, killing more than 7000 people and forcing 4 million people to leave their homes.
This year, in preparation for Typhoon Hagupit, the Philippines government led one of the world’s largest peacetime evacuations, moving close to a million people. This massive pre-emptive evacuation of communities in the typhoon’s path has saved lives. “Clearly, better preparedness and early warning have resulted in a lot less suffering from this typhoon,” said Ann Witteveen, Oxfam Canada’s Humanitarian Manager.
“This underscores how important it is to work on disaster mitigation plans and capacity building with government and local organizations along with other risk reduction activities. Disaster preparedness really does save lives. Unfortunately, funding for Disaster Risk Reduction is hard to come by and we call on the Canadian government to specifically support it.”
Needs in the next weeks
Depending on the extent of the damage to homes, hundreds of thousands of displaced people will need support in the coming days and weeks. Oxfam, also, remains concerned about those still struggling to recover from last year’s typhoon.
“Women, men, girls and boys are still living in inadequate shelters that are unable to withstand significant winds and rain, and living in deeper poverty because of ongoing difficulties in fully resuming key livelihood activities,” said Justin Morgan, country director for Oxfam’s Philippines program.
“Because of the sheer number of evacuees, evacuation centres may be overstretched which could result in health and sanitation issues. We also know that in evacuation centres women and girls are more vulnerable, including to harassment and sexual violence.”
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