In the hours after super storm Haima, Relief International teams pushed into some of the most devastated areas of the Philippines to measure damage and offer assistance.
Super Typhoon Haima, known locally as Lawin, landed in the Philippines' Cagayan province late on October 19th packing winds up to 240km/150 miles per hour that knocked out water and electricity and caused severe flooding. Mobile networks were down in 80 percent of the cities in Northern and Central Luzon, roughly 500km/300 miles from where the storm made landfall. More than 1.2 million people have been seriously affected by the typhoon across three regions, according to estimates by the Philippine government.
"There are a lot of locations that are not accessible because they’re high up in the mountains or the bridges over the rivers have been destroyed,” said Rachid Boumnijrl, RI country director in the Philippines.
A Relief International team assessed the situation in close coordination with the local government. In the city of Gattaran, the team discovered poor access to water due to flooded wells and a lack of electricity. Relief International distributed water treatment kits that will provide clean, safe water for 2,500 people – roughly 500 families — for one month. Clean water presents one of the most pressing needs in disaster situations, where damage to water and sanitation facilities can promote diseases such as cholera.
The team, which has expertise in water, sanitation and hygiene as well as other disciplines, also found significant damage to livelihoods with rice and banana crops destroyed. More than half of the region’s residents depend on farming for income.
In addition, more than 180,000 houses in the area were partially or completely destroyed. The government has announced that it will support affected households with cash assistance for reconstruction. The combination of damage to farming and homes is expected to make recovery long and slow. Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013, killing more than 7,000 people and leaving more than 16 million people without essential services such as electricity, healthcare, sanitation facilities and clean water. Relief International delivered immediate aid across nine municipalities in Leyte province after the storm, and expanded relief and development efforts that continue today.
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For more information or for interviews with Relief International teams on the ground, contact Michele Kayal at [email protected], 202-503-1244.