Oxfam ready to respond to super Typhoon Haiyan

Emergencies, Media Releases, News article written on the 08 Nov 2013

International aid agency Oxfam is preparing an emergency response to the biggest Typhoon to hit the Philippines in decades.

As Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, Oxfam emergency response teams were on standby to respond to potential devastation in the Visayas region, with teams already on the ground working with people affected by a massive earthquake last month.

The category 5 storm is predicted to cause waves of 5.5 to 6m in height and winds of 315km/h with authorities warning up to 12 million people are at risk.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Helen Szoke said the agency had major concerns for those people who were still living in tents and makeshift accommodation in the Bohol region.

“We have teams already in that region working with people affected by the earthquake last month,” she said.

“Our primary concern will be for these people who have been doubly affected, as they are already displaced and living in tents and makeshift shelters in the region.”

Oxfam response teams will be doing rapid assessments of damage as the typhoon moves through and out of the country, with teams in Bohol and Manila ready to respond.

Dr Szoke said shelter, water and sanitation would be vitally important in the immediate response.

“There is no doubt that those basic needs – water, sanitation and emergency shelter – will be at the top of our response,” Ms Szoke said.

Typhoon Haiyan has already surpassed Typhoon Bopha, which tore through the Philippines in 2012, killing at least 1,146 people and doing more than US$1 billion damage.

On October 15, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol caused mass displacement and killed 215 people.