Typhoon Hagupit (known locally as Typhoon Ruby) is set to hit the Philippines on Dec. 6, potentially impacting millions of Filipinos. Handicap International's teams working in the archipelago are taking action to support the most vulnerable populations.
Typhoon Hagupit, generating winds of 150-236 mph and 32-foot high waves, is now a category 5 storm, the most powerful and destructive level. Officials expect the super storm to reach the Pacific coast of the Philippines on Saturday, passing over the Tacloban area, and charting a path toward the north of the archipelago, including the capital Manila. The areas around Tacloban suffered extensive damage when Typhoon Haiyan hit on Nov. 8, 2013. Local authorities have placed about 50 provinces on high alert.
"There is widespread panic in Tacloban," explains Cédric Linossier, Head of Mission for Handicap International’s emergency response in the Philippines. "Following Typhoon Haiyan, which hit a year ago, killing over 6,000 people and affecting 15 million individuals, the population is traumatized. Schools have been closed. Everyone is preparing for the worst. In Manila, people have been stocking up on rice and other goods to make sure they can cope on their own for at least a week."
Handicap International teams, active in Manila, Tacloban (Leyte province), and Roxas (Capiz province), are warning the most vulnerable populations about the impending typhoon and informing them about the protective measures they should take. Where necessary, the association is making arrangements to move people to evacuation centers.
Teams are also preparing contingency stocks, as well as the logistics equipment required to clear the roads. "We are also taking care to ensure the safety of the Handicap International staff members in the country and to maintain our capabilities," Linossier adds. "We need to be ready to respond to this emergency situation."
Following the passage of Typhoon Haiyan, Handicap International set up an intervention to support vulnerable people in the provinces of Leyte and Capiz. Handicap International’s teams organized a logistics platform which made it possible to transport humanitarian aid to isolated areas and evacuate debris, over a period of several months. Our teams have also distributed 1,390 tents in Lawaan, in the province of Eastern Samar and Batad, in the province of Iloilo.
A support project for 800 people who lost their work tools in the disaster is still underway, as well as a project to build 1,200 temporary shelters. The association also runs a project for children with disabilities, to facilitate their inclusion in the 50 Child Friendly Spaces set up in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Handicap International’s teams in the Philippines include about 190 people.
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