Oxfam ready to respond as Super Typhoon Hagupit bears down on the Philippines

Emergencies article written on the 05 Dec 2014

Photo: NOAA's National Weather Service
Oxfam is prepared for a major disaster response in The Philippines after Cyclone Hagupit was upgraded to a Super Typhoon. The Category 5 storm, which has recorded maximum wind speeds of more than 300km/h, could pose a risk to millions of people.

Typhoon Hagupit is the same classification as Typhoon Haiyan – which devastated the central Philippines last November. More than 6,300 people lost their lives, and almost 4.1 million people were forced from their homes.

Oxfam’s Country Director in the Philippines, Justin Morgan, said local government authorities had been evacuating residents, including people still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan.

“We are preparing for the worst, but we are still hopeful that the storm will change course,” said Justin.

“In Tacloban today we were seeing long queues, as people filled up jerry cans at petrol stations and bought provisions. We also saw government staff and individuals pulling limbs off trees to reduce the chance of them becoming missiles. People are working together to minimise the risks wherever they can.”

The aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan left many people living in deeper poverty. With the decimation of rice crops, coconut trees and fishing boats, entire communities lost their livelihoods. Households still struggling to recover from Typhoon Haiyan are often living in inadequate shelter that will not be able to withstand significant winds and rain.

“These households will likely be the most impacted by Typhoon Hagupit if it continues on its projected path towards the Visayas.”

“The lack of functional evacuation centres, with many damaged or destroyed during Typhoon Haiyan, also remains a major consideration in terms of the ability for communities to safely and quickly evacuate.”

The storm is expected to make landfall on Saturday, if it does not divert from its current course.

Oxfam has staff on standby to respond to the emergency and stocks throughout The Philippines — including hygiene kits and water purification tablets — ready for rapid distribution.

We will continue to provide updates as more news becomes available.