Kuala Lumpur/Manila, November 1, 2020 – Philippine Red Cross emergency response teams were on the ground when Super Typhoon Goni made landfall today, supporting search and rescue efforts and providing immediate relief to hard-hit communities as the disaster was unfolding.
Super Typhoon Goni, with 225km/h sustained winds and gusts of up to 280km/h upon landfall, is one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people in 2013.
The Philippine’s Disaster Management Council estimates the super typhoon will directly affect up to 31 million people, after suffering from three typhoons already this month and at the same time the country is grappling with the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections in South East Asia, next only to Indonesia.
Experienced in responding to typhoons – about 20 of which hit the country each year – Philippine Red Cross anticipated needs, so they pre-positioned emergency response teams, first aid, hygiene kits and other relief supplies as the storm approached.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said:
“This ordeal is not new to us. We have learnt through experience about the need to be prepared, and the importance of ensuring communities get the support they need in the hours and days after a typhoon hits.”
“Right now our staff and volunteers are where they need to be, supporting search and rescue efforts, providing meals, and distributing relief packages to people who have been evacuated or tragically lost their homes.”
“The pandemic has made this much more complex, but we have been preparing for this situation, training and equipping our teams for a COVID-era response.”
Philippines officials ordered the evacuation of almost a million people ahead of the storm, made even more difficult due to the need for physical distancing.
IFRC Head of Philippine Country Office Robert Kaufman said:
“People affected by Typhoon Goni were still reeling from the impacts of three previous cyclones that came in October. The Red Cross is ensuring that their urgent needs are supported amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will continue to monitor and respond to these back-to-back disasters and prepare for more, as another weather disturbance is already heading towards the country.”
About the IFRC
The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives, build community resilience, strengthen localization and promote dignity around the world.