Red Cross volunteers in action as 5.4 million people affected by Typhoon Haiyan

Publié: 11 novembre 2013 3:23 CET

By Kate Roux, IFRC

Typhoon Haiyan – one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded – tore through the Visayas region of central Philippines on Friday with deadly force, making landfall five times, in the provinces of Eastern Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Panay Island and Palawan. The combination of powerful winds and seawater have devastated buildings, communities and families.

Damage to critical infrastructure has made rapid assessment difficult, and authorities are still determining casualty figures. The Department of Social Welfare and Development estimates more than 5.4 million people have been affected by the storm across 40 provinces. The city of Tacloban was hardest hit, with storm surges – which pushed water far inland – reported as high as three meters.

Staff and volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross have been active with search and rescue and doing assessments since the storm hit. Delivery of supplies to Tacloban and other affected areas is seriously constrained by logistical challenges.

Bernd Schell, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) representative for the Philippines said every option to ensure relief arrived quickly was being explored. "Food, water, shelter and health are the immediate priorities," he said.

Emergency response teams have been deployed to deal with all aspects of the relief operation. The Philippines has been hit by multiple disasters in recent months – including the 7.2 earthquake in Bohol and typhoons and floods in Luzon – so the Philippine Red Cross has teams already working in many areas affected by the storm.

The IFRC will launch an emergency appeal on 12 November to mobilize support for the Philippine Red Cross. The appeal will enable the National Society to deliver humanitarian assistance to thousands of families. Many National Societies, including the American Red Cross, Australian Red Cross and British Red Cross, have also launched emergency appeals.

"Every day – every minute – counts," Schell said. "It is important that we coordinate with the authorities and other actors to move as quickly as possible in meeting the most pressing needs."

More information about the Typhoon Hiayan response