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Press Releases & Updates

14 NOV 2013

Latest Situation of the Philippines Typhoon

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. It is estimated thatbetween 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. 
  • Six days have passed since Haiyan and areas still remain inaccessible. Getting roads cleared of debris, ports up and running and airports functional are critical, done in parallel with the government responsibility to maintain security. 
  • 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:

  • 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.