Oxfam and its local partner organisation in the Philippines, Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) witnessed the destructive force of Super Typhoon Mangkhut today, known locally as Ompong, which made landfall in Baggao, Cagayan at 1.40am local time.
Super Typhoon Mangkhut is bringing with it high winds and nonstop torrential rains as it heads towards Luzon in the northern part of the Philippines. Maximum sustained winds of 205km/h and gusts of up to 255km/h have been recorded.
It is estimated that at least 5 million Filipinos who live in the storm’s projected path will be affected.
Oxfam responder April Abello-Bulanadi is in Tuguegerao City, Cagayan and witnessed substantial damage to infrastructure and agricultural crops.
“The situation is very bad. The winds are howling and we can feel the destructive force of Ompong. The roof of the hotel where the response team convened has been blown away. We are on the third floor. The walls and ceiling are shaking. It has been raining nonstop. We are preparing to assess the areas near the Cagayan river, the coasts of northern Cagayan, and north Isabela,” she said.
Oxfam and its partner organisations are well prepared to respond with emergency food, cash, clean water and sanitation needs, along with protection for those most vulnerable, including women and girls. Teams have been conducting needs assessments in the affected areas since Wednesday.
Oxfam’s Country Director in the Philippines, Maria Rosario Felizco, said that those affected will require urgent access to food, clean water and shelter.
“We are concerned about Ompong’s impact on lives and livelihoods, especially those within the eye of the storm. The communities will need support during this time of great need. Oxfam and our partners are ready to support the government. We will prioritise addressing the needs of women and girls throughout the emergency response.”
Ms Felizco said Oxfam and its local partners have been coordinating with both local and higher levels of government and will continue to do so over coming days as the full extend of Mangkhut’s destruction becomes clearer.
“Oxfam will coordinate closely with the government and other responders to ensure the immediate needs of survivors are addressed effectively,” she said.
Super Typhoon Mangkhut is the 15th storm to hit the Philippines this year and, so far, the strongest for 2018. An average of 20 typhoons hit the country each year.
“What we are also seeing now with extreme weather events like Mangkhut is that we need to take urgent action to ensure that communities most vulnerable to climate change impacts are able to adapt,” said Ms Felizco.
There is a strong potential for landslides as Super Typhoon Mangkhut exacerbates the impact of the monsoon season, which is already underway.
For more information or interviews with Oxfam’s Country Director in the Philippines, please contact Megan Giles on 0433 028 567 or firstname.lastname@example.org