With the experience of enduring continuous disasters year after year, the Red Cross Societies of the Philippines and Viet Nam instinctively know how to prepare for the worst. This time, it was for Typhoon Son Tinh.
Both Red Cross Societies took effective measures to protect communities before the storm hit each country on 25 and 28 October respectively. Monitoring the situation closely, the Philippine and Viet Nam Red Cross societies put emergency response units and specialized Red Cross volunteers on standby.
In Viet Nam, more than 85,000 people were evacuated by local authorities with the support of the Viet Nam Red Cross Society before the storm hit. Once families were settled into evacuation centres, Red Cross staff and volunteers continued their work by providing psychosocial support.
Viet Nam Red Cross Society volunteers also helped locals, such as Mr. Pham Van Cuong and his wife, Nguyen Thi Ha, and their young child who has a disability, prepare their homes to withstand the storm.
“Taking these important preparedness measures allows the Red Cross to be more efficient in meeting the needs of the population,” Nuran Higgins, IFRC Operations Manager and Acting Head of Delegation for Viet Nam, said.
When the storm made a direct landfall on 25 October, the Philippine Red Cross deployed disaster response teams to support local authorities with evacuation efforts, as well as conduct search and rescue operations.
The organization provided ready-to-eat meals and assorted food items to over 3,300 people, and social workers continue providing psychosocial support to those affected by the storm. According to the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the storm had a significant impact on 70,000 people in the Philippines, and around 2,500 families still remain in 63 evacuation centres.
Meanwhile, the northern coastal areas of Viet Nam remains on high alert as flooding is expected in inland areas of the country. There are over 10,000 relief items available including blankets, bottles of water, tents and pre-packaged food if necessary.
The Red Cross societies of the Philippines and Viet Nam are well versed in preparing for major storms. Their preparedness efforts demonstrate than not only is the damaged caused by disasters reduced, but most importantly, lives are saved.