24 January 2012, Manila and Bangkok — As tens of thousands of survivors in Mindanao enter their second month of uncertainty, the Red Cross is announcing plans to more than double the support it will provide to communities affected by December’s Typhoon Washi.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in support of the Philippine Red Cross, is now appealing to donors for 5.69 million Swiss francs (USD 6.1 million, Euro 4.7 million), a dramatic revision of the initial call for 2.63 million Swiss francs (USD 2.8 million, Euro 2.2 million) that was made in the days following Typhoon Washi, which hit northern parts of Mindanao in the early hours of 17 December 2011, claiming at least 1,257 lives and affecting an estimated 1.14 million people.
These increased financial needs reflect the perilous situation still faced by those who were severely affected, explains Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.
“More than a month on from Sendong (the local name for Typhoon Washi) and at least 223,000 are still living in emergency shelters, with host families, or in makeshift conditions. It may take a long time for these people to get back into permanent homes, and they will need our support in the interim.”
The Red Cross is now pledging to support 4,000 families with either safe transitional shelter or with repair kits to help them to rebuild homes.
“The transitional homes are intended for families whose houses were destroyed, and the repair kits are for other families to rebuild homes that were damaged,” said Selvaratnam Sinnadurai, the IFRC’s representative to the Philippines.
In the wake of the storm, authorities decreed some land unsafe for rebuilding, explained Sinnadurai. “The process underway now is to find new and safe land. But in the interim, people need to be able to continue their lives with dignity and with access to basic support, and that’s we are aiming to achieve.”
The revised operation will also see the Red Cross provide 2,000 families with cash or other livelihoods support as well as reaching 15,000 families – 75,000 people – with food, water storage containers and hygiene kits. Those families receiving water containers will also be provided with crucial information on health and hygiene, helping them to take the necessary steps to avoid exposure to illness and disease. A recent outbreak of the deadly bacteria Leptospirosis has claimed 16 lives and affected 377 others.
In all, the Red Cross now intends to reach 100,000 people through these various interventions.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 mil¬lion people each year through its 186 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:
• Teresita Usapdin, communications consultant, Philippine Red Cross. Mobile: +63 9155 725 002. E-mail : email@example.com
• Matthew Cochrane, communications, IFRC. Mobile: +66 81 922 8739. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Kuala Lumpur:
• Patrick Fuller, communications manager Asia Pacific, IFRC.
Mobile +60 122 308 451. E-mail: email@example.com