Oxfam staff in The Philippines are available for interview today, Country Director Justin Morgan, who is an Australian and also responded to Typhoon Haiyan. Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke, who was also in The Philippines for the Haiyan response, is available for interview from Melbourne.
Typhoon Hagupit has struck the Philippines, making landfall in Eastern Samar, pummelling the coastal communities with 210km/h winds. Oxfam is ready to dispatch rapid assessment teams to survey the damage left in its path, and assess and respond to the greatest needs.
The storm, known locally as Ruby, hit areas still recovering from the destruction caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which decimated the central region of the archipelago last year, killing more than 6300 people and forcing 4 million people to leave their homes.
Oxfam Philippines Country Director Justin Morgan said the number one priority in responding to the disaster was determining the impact of the storm, and which areas had been hit hardest.
“The Philippines have suffered yet another blow, with Typhoon Hagupit making landfall earlier this morning,” Mr Morgan said.
“The storm weakened in intensity as it approached the coast, but there are still concerns for the safety of people in the disaster zone, especially those still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan.”
“Our rapid assessment teams will be surveying the scale of the damage and responding to immediate needs at first light.”
Yesterday Oxfam worked with local authorities to install water storage systems in evacuation centres in Tacloban and assist with the evacuation of people and goods in Ormoc.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke, who was in The Philippines for the Typhoon Haiyan response, said Oxfam had contingency stocks in place, ready to be distributed to those in need.
“Oxfam has stockpiles of household water kits, that help ensure families have access to safe drinking water, and hygiene kits, comprised of basic sanitation items like anti-bacterial soap,” Dr Szoke said.
“These simple items save lives in the aftermath of disaster.”
To support Oxfam’s response to this and other and humanitarian crises worldwide donate to Oxfam Australia’s International Crisis Fund, by calling 1800 034 034 or visiting www.oxfam.org.au/icf
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