Oxfam Country Director in the Philippines Justin Morgan, an Australian who also responded to Typhoon Haiyan is available for interview today. Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke, who was also in The Philippines for the Haiyan response, is available for interview from Melbourne.
The threat of flooding and landslides remains high as Typhoon Koppu moves across the northern Philippines.
While the typhoon’s windspeeds have reduced, the slow-moving storm is bringing high rainfall to mountainous areas of Luzon that are prone to flash flooding and landslides.
Typhoon Koppu struck the Philippines on Sunday, making landfall in the north eastern province of Aurora, pummelling the coastal community of more than 200,000 people with wind gusts of 195km/h.
Oxfam Chief Executive Helen Szoke said the storm caused significant damage to infrastructure when it hit, before weakening as it moved inland.
“Gale-force winds ripped the roofs off houses and a local hospital, and brought down trees and power poles, cutting off power and communications to the affected areas on Sunday,” Dr Szoke said.
“But flooding is now the main concern, and we have already seen flood waters one metre deep in places, with some town centres and farm land inundated.”
“The Philippines Government is continuing to evacuate people as the typhoon moves north across Luzon, but the storm has thankfully weakened considerably.”
The typhoon, known locally as Lando, is expected to sit semi-stationary above the country for up to three days.
The storm could be uniquely destructive because of the length of time it will hover over the disaster-prone country, which has experienced more than 15 typhoons this year alone.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke, who was in The Philippines for the Typhoon Haiyan response, said Oxfam was ready to assess and respond to the greatest needs if the Philippines Government requests international assistance.
“Oxfam’s rapid assessment teams are ready to deploy if needed to survey the scale of the damage and respond to immediate needs,” Dr Szoke said.
“We have vehicles on standby and stocks including bladder tanks to provide clean water ready to deploy.”
To support Oxfam’s response to this and other and humanitarian crises worldwide donate to Oxfam Australia’s International Crisis Fund, by calling 1800 134 134 or visiting www.oxfam.org.au/icf
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