Irish charities prepare response to Typhoon Hagupit

Plan Ireland and GOAL say emergency teams in place to deal with storm’s aftermath

People move to safer ground in the town of Marabot, Samar island, Philippines, 6th December 2014, ahead of Typhoon Hagupit. Photograph: EPA/Francis R. Malasig

People move to safer ground in the town of Marabot, Samar island, Philippines, 6th December 2014, ahead of Typhoon Hagupit. Photograph: EPA/Francis R. Malasig

 

Irish charities Plan Ireland and GOAL are preparing response efforts in the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit is predicted to make landfall on Saturday.

Over half a million residents have fled coastal areas and danger zones and are living in converted schools, hospitals and gymnasiums converted to evacuation shelters ahead of the storm.

After dealing with the emergency following last year’s “super typhoon” Haiyan, charities are readying emergency response teams and mobilising volunteers ahead of Typhoon Hagupit.

Carin van der Hor, Plan Ireland’s country director for the Philippines said: “We have pre-positioned aid right where it will be needed after the storm and we stand ready to respond to any devastation or destruction it might bring.

“We have all worked so hard to get back on our feet after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan and have made enormous progress. It’s heartbreaking to think that so much of that work is threatened.”

Vulnerabilities

GOAL’s country director in the Philippines, Evelyn Moorehead said lessons were learned from Haiyan, but vulnerabilities still exist.

“Many people are taking shelter in evacuation centres, but our main concern at the moment is for those living in tents and other makeshift shelters and those residing in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding,” she said.

“We expect to be dealing with an extremely serious situation when the storm dissipates in the coming hours.”

The typhoon, nicknamed “Ruby”, is projected to hit the east and north of Samar, a province to the east of Tacloban city, on Saturday, bringing 4 to 5 metre-high surges and gusts of up to 220kph.

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific cancelled about 100 flights to central and southern Philippines ahead of the storm and sea travel was also suspended.

The storm comes about 13 months after the “super typhoon” Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall.

Haiyan left more than 7,000 dead or missing and more than 4 million homeless or with damaged houses.