Typhoon evacuees queue for relief goods
6 December 2012
Almost one year on from Typhoon Washi and only months since monsoon rains and floods devastated the capital Manila and neighbouring provinces, the people of the Philippines are once more bearing the brunt of extreme weather.
Christian Aid has released £100,000 to help our partners in the Philippines provide immediate needs such as food, blankets, basic first aid kits, cooking utensils, shovels for cleaning up and cash assistance.
Typhoon Bopha's path
Typhoon Bopha - three times the strength of Washi - tore a path through the southern Island of Mindanao on the morning of Tuesday 4 December. It toppled trees, cut off power supplies and at the last count has destroyed over 32,000 homes. Over five million people have now been affected.
Tragically, and once again in the run up to Christmas, the people of the Philippines face yet more destruction and loss. As the death toll reached 647, friends and relatives of almost 800 people still missing cling tightly to the possibility that their loved ones will be found alive.
Alwynn Javier, Christian Aid’s Emergency Officer, said:
'Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental appear to be the most heavily hit provinces in terms of wind damage, landslides and casualties, with hundreds of people still missing.
'Our partners [Minland, Alterdev, Samdhana, and MUCAARD] are currently undertaking damage and needs assessments in areas including Compostela Valley, Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur.'
Families forced from their homes
Alwynn continued: 'The wind damage has been shocking. Homes in towns along the coast of Davao Oriental have been simply torn apart. Roads and bridges have been severely damaged and thousands of hectares of farmland ruined.'
Severe flooding, landslides and ferocious winds of up to 130mph have wreaked havoc. Over 300,000 people have now been forced to leave their homes, while nearly 30,000 families are finding refuge in evacuation centres.
Early warning system
Text message based early warning systems, rain gauges and flood watch points - put in place following Washi and funded by Christian Aid's emergency appeal - proved crucial in helping local communities prepare and co-ordinate evacuations.
In the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, both seriously affected by Typhoon Washi, no casualties were reported.
However, many thousands of people are still facing up to the devastation wrought by such extreme weather.
A changing climate
As Bopha becomes the second-most southerly typhoon on record, studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense typhoons.
Speaking at the recent climate change talks in Doha (COP18), the Philippines' chief climate negotiator, Naderev Sano, clearly linked Typhoon Bopha to man-made climate change.
He stated that both Bopha and Hurricane Sandy - which struck Haiti last month - were ‘clear signs of climate change.’
He said: 'I appeal to leaders from all over the world to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by seven billion people.
'Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want.'
While attributing individual typhoons such as Bopha to man-made climate change needs to be justified with specific research, the high intensity is consistent with the projected future impact of climate change on typhoons.
Christian Aid is continuously monitoring the situation in the Philippines to help prepare partners to provide emergency support to affected communities. We are also coordinating closely with other local organisations.
How you can help
Please donate to our disasters and emergencies fund to help us respond to this and other emergencies around the world.
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