Typhoon Haiyan, reported to be the biggest and most dangerous storm so far this year, made landfall in the Philippines Friday morning local time amid fears of catastrophic damage. World Vision’s teams are on high alert ahead of a potential emergency response.
Typhoon Haiyan, a storm the Joint Typhoon Warning CenterExternal Link has called “the strongest tropical cyclone in the world this year,” made landfall Friday morning local time in Samar, central Philippines. With winds clocked at 195 miles per hour, the fast-moving storm could do massive damage.
It may also impact quake-hit zones of Bohol, where World Vision currently has relief efforts.
“Our response teams are on standby to support government efforts if needed, and staff and assisted families have been advised to take safety precautions,” says Ernesto Macabenta, World Vision’s associate director of operations in Visayas.
World Vision staff are working with national and local government disaster units, alerting communities along the storm’s path to take precautionary measures.
“Learning from our experience with Typhoon Washi in 2011, many families have taken refuge in the South City Central School. They will be sleeping in evacuation centers as part of the city’s preemptive evacuations of communities in low-lying and flood-prone areas,” said Crislyn Felisilda, World Vision’s communicator in Cagayan de Oro City.
Haiyan is forecasted to surpass Typhoon Bopha’s strength; that storm pummeled northern Mindanao last year, destroying 216,000 homes. With a diameter of 500 miles, Haiyan is bringing intense rains as it heads west-northwest to make landfall over the eastern provinces of Samar and Leyte by Friday. Haiyan also threatens southern Luzon, including the Bicol Region and metro Manila.
Classes and work have been suspended in affected areas. Sea ports have also been closed for safety and to prevent casualties. Coastal communities are advised to halt fishing activities and evacuate if necessary, while farmers are urged to harvest farm products.
Meanwhile, local governments and disaster agencies are pre-positioning relief supplies and have identified possible evacuation centers.
“Families should prepare their survival kits and make sure that they retrofit their homes. Here in Bohol, families should strengthen their tents and makeshift houses in areas that are not flood-prone,” said World Vision’s disaster risk reduction adviser, Joyce Dumayag.
Earlier rains brought by Typhoon Wilma this week submerged Bohol’s quake-hit towns and evacuation centers, adding woes to displaced families.
World Vision relief teams in Bohol continued emergency aid distributions in Sikatuna, San Isidro, Loboc and Sagbayan for 7,000 families. Shelter kits are also on the way for 4,000 families in the next six months of the emergency response.
Please pray for children, families, and communities in the path of this dangerous storm, and pray for those working to assist those who are being forced to evacuate their homes. Pray especially that the damage and death toll from this emergency would be minimal.