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Press Releases & Updates

13 NOV 2013

Latest Situation of Philippines Typhoon

The coming days and weeks are critical. Hundreds of thousands of people have no shelter, food or water and families are already being forced to drink contaminated water. The threat of disease and malnutrition is high. The need for life-saving emergency aid is huge. We must act now. Be generous and help us help them.

Latest Situation in the Philippines:

  • Over 11 million people have been affected and 700,000 people have been displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the worst natural disasters to hit the Philippines in years.
  • The Philippines government has declared a ‘State of Calamity’ and is appealing for international humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is supporting this call by raising money and working to get life-saving assistance on the ground fast.
  • The most immediate needs on the ground are food, clean water and sanitation. Oxfam’s teams are on the ground now and are trying to get water and hygiene kits to people.
  • Logistics constraints remain a huge challenge: access to the most affected areas is very difficult – roads are impassable and air and sea travel has been severely disrupted. There are ongoing communication problems as power and networks are down.

Oxfam’s Response:

  • Oxfam currently have 3 assessment teams in the field, focusing on the worst-hit provinces of Cebu, Eastern Samar and Leyte.
  • Oxfam’s target is to reach half a million people with emergency assistance. Priorities will be to reach the most vulnerable families with safe water and sanitation facilities to help protect people from public health risks.
  • Despite the logistical challenges, Oxfam is sending a vehicle to Tacloban with some supplies and hopes to be able to do initial distributions for emergency water supplies in the next few days, hoping to reach 20,000 families.
  • A second batch of response team is arriving Cebu today to meet with the assessment teams and develop action plans.
  • Some 16 tonnes of aid worth close to USD $200,000 will be shipped as soon as possible to Cebu.
  • Over 10,000 hygeine kits as well as basic equipment like jerry cans are being shipped to Cebu from the Regional Centre in Manilla.

Eyewitness Reports from the Field

  • Golda Hilario from Oxfam’s rapid assessment team in Tacloban said the entire city had been devastated. Pharmacies were being looted and there’s a real need for basic medicines like antibiotics and medical equipment like surgical gloves. Food markets are closed and lootings have been reported because of the dire lack of food. There is no running water and no electricity and people are taking desperate measures, like trying to puncture water pipes, to get water.
  • In northern Cebu the local high school has been turned into an evacuation centre for 160 families forced to flee their homes. Children as young as five are fetching water from a nearby well for their families, carrying one gallon (nearly four litres) at a time. Oxfam’s Tata Abella-Bolo, part of the agency’s assessment team in the area said the collected water was mixed with salt water, but people were still drinking it.