Typhoon Hagupit : Plan responds.


Plan Ireland is assessing and responding to the impact of today’s powerful typhoon wherever possible, even as the year’s biggest storm continues to barrel down central Philippines. The slow-moving storm at 15 km/h remains highly threatening to millions despite its reduced wind strength of 140 km/h, according to latest state weather forecasts.

Typhoon Hagupit has made its first landfall in the town of Dolores, Eastern Samar province on Saturday (December 6th) at 9:15 PM (Philippine time). Its second landfall was recorded 11 AM yesterday (Sunday, December 7th) in Cataingan, Masbate province and is now heading west-northwest towards the provinces of Romblon and Mindoro.

“Our staff are highly trained and experienced in emergency response. We already have prepositioned relief items in the affected areas. These include 3,499 shelter kits (tarpaulin sheets and rope), 5,500 water kits, 5,500 hygiene kits and 4,100 infant kits that will benefit 14,499 families or 76,595 individuals,” says Carin van der Hor, Plan International’s Country Director in the Philippines.

“In an emergency, our first response focuses on life-saving needs, including water and sanitation, but we also look at the bigger picture, working to make sure that children are safe from harm and able to return to school,” she says.

“First thing tomorrow and should roads be passable, we are deploying our assessment team based in the Visayas to conduct a rapid needs assessment in Eastern Samar, particularly in the towns of Dolores, Hernani, Oras and Balangkayan,” van der Hor adds.

Plan International is one of the Philippines’ longest-serving humanitarian and development organisations, operating across the country and with staff on standby in Tacloban, Borongan, Catbalogan, Catarman, Masbate, Mindoro and Manila. Staff in the affected regions have been able to help report the following:

– Intense winds have caused infrastructure damage in Borongan in Eastern Samar. Communications are down, and the city is without power and    water. No official reports on any casualties as yet. Significant road damage has isolated the city from other towns.

– At least 4,000 families evacuated in Northern Samar province, where 20 of 24 towns are at risk of flooding, while 16 towns are at risk of      landslides.

– In Western Samar province, 20 towns and 2 cities are at risk of flooding.

– The province of Sorsogon has evacuated 173,000 people.

– Power still down in Tacloban. Though the typhoon spared the city, there is significant damage to infrastructure caused by very strong winds.    No reported casualties in Tacloban according to Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

– Power is out in Masbate since early this morning. Almost zero visibility in the provincial capital due to very strong winds and rains.

Some of the Plan staff on the ground also reported their experience and eyewitness accounts of surviving the storm.

“The typhoon was very strong and took its time when it made landfall in Eastern Samar,” says Willy Novela, Plan’s emergency response team leader in Borongan. “Some roads were heavily flooded but the waters immediately receded. The city’s biggest hotel was packed with evacuees. The hotelbuilding sustained damage from strong winds and rains.”

In Tacloban, Plan communications officer Christelyn Sibugon described the typhoon’s strong winds as “howling, wailing.”

“Though the typhoon spared the city, there is still noticeable impact—like debris from fallen signboards and roofing sheets—and most of all, the memories of Typhoon Haiyan were brought back to mind among children and their families who have yet to fully recover from last year’s disaster,” she says.

The typhoon is expected to remain in the Philippines for as many as two more days, leaving the country on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Notes for editors:

Contact Daniel English in Plan Ireland at 01-6599 601 for all interview request.

Plan International Philippines Country Director Carin Van der Hor and Emergency Response Manager Richard Sandison are available for interview by mobile phone. Deputy Country Director for Programs Marco Savio is also available for interviews in French and Italian.

Plan International is one of the Philippines’ longest-serving humanitarian and development iNGOs, with a special focus on helping marginalised children across the country to access their rights to health, education, livelihoods, disaster risk management and protection.

Plan in the Philippines has also responded to numerous emergencies across the disaster-prone country by providing food, healthcare, clean drinking water and sanitation, shelter, temporary schooling and psychosocial support. Most recently, Plan has responded to the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan which killed more than 6200 people and affected more than 14 million. Plan also responded to the 2013 Bohol earthquake, 2012 Typhoon Bopha, 2011 Typhoon Sendong and the ongoing conflict in Mindanao.