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Press Releases & Updates

15 NOV 2013

Latest Situation of Philippines Typhoon

Latest Situation in the Philippines

  • There is a significant improvement in access to disaster affected areas as roads, seaports and air strips have opened and some telecommunications have been restored.
  • Getting relief to Tacloban was massively set back by a second Typhoon, Zoraida, which has now passed over, but it made sea and air travel almost impossible and parts of the city were again flooded.
  • Tacloban continues to be the focus of media attention and is the place where most lives were lost. 39 other provinces have been equally devastated and aid is urgently needed in these areas too.
  • In Southeast Samar coastal towns were devastated by a 10 metre storm surge. The area has not yet been reached by relief efforts so food, water and fuel supplies are running out fast.
  • Even though access is now improving health concerns continue to increase, with urgent need for safe drinking water and medical assistance, especially in Leyte and Samar.
  • 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. It is estimated that between 2000 and 10,000 people are thought to have lost their lives.
  • 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.
  • Aid is starting to get through. Today rice has been distributed to 50,000 people in the Tacloban area. (by the World Food Programme)
  • Efforts must also be placed on getting to remote areas, and not just serving the mobile community members. It is those that have reduced mobility that are the most vulnerable and they need to be prioritized.


Oxfam’s Response: 

  • Roads are finally opening up, so Oxfam will be able to start getting aid to the worst affected areas today. Our priority will be to get to the most vulnerable people affected with safe water and basic essentials like soap and blankets."
  • With roads opening up, the Oxfam teams are moving into Northern Cebu to get much needed aid to affected areas. They will also be trying to reach areas that remain isolated.
  • Water and hygiene kits, which include basic essentials like soap, toothbrushes, underwear and blankets were distributed to 2,000 families in Daan Bantayan today. More kits will be distributed for 10,000 families in Eastern Samar and 8,000 families in Leyte tomorrow.
  • Oxfam will also be providing 1000 households with assistance, so they can buy essentials like fuel, medicines and transport.
  • We will be providing mobile water treatment units (that can generate 4-6 cubic metres per hour) to at least 5 different sites, complete with generators and fuel to run them. We will also be installing mass water storage (either steel tanks that can accommodate up to 45,000 litres or a ‘bladder’ which holds 10,000 litres) complete with tap stands. Oxfam staff will treat and/or repair existing hand pumps and water points.
  • We will be providing 1,000 communal temporary latrines, cleaning kits and handwashing stations.
  • 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.
  • Oxfam has 4 teams in the affected areas (Northern Cebu, Leyte and Samar) providing household level water purification.
  • Despite the logistical challenges, Oxfam is sending a vehicle to Tacloban with some supplies and hopes to be able to do initial distributions of hygiene and water kits, hoping to reach 20,000 families (100,000 people) on or before November 16.
  • Some 17 tonnes of aid worth close to USD $200,000 will be shipped to Cebu on November 16. Other water and sanitation equipment is arriving into the country, which will be immediately taken to affected areas.
  • Providing income to meet immediate needs through cash for work and helping to clear debris to aid access to remote locations.
  • Restoring livelihoods where quickly feasible – e.g. through the purchase and distribution of fishing nets.

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.