Philippines: Race to keep millions safe from super typhoon

Volunteers of Philippine Red Cross prepare the safety and rescue equipment in preparation for Typhoon Odette.

Volunteers of Philippine Red Cross prepare the safety and rescue equipment in preparation for Typhoon Odette.

Photo: Philippine Red Cross

Kuala Lumpur/Manila, December 16, 2021 - One of the world’s strongest storms of 2021 is bearing down on the Philippines threatening millions of people with destructive winds and flash floods.

Philippine Red Cross teams across eastern areas of the country are working around the clock to preposition rescue vehicles, first aid teams, evacuation and safety equipment as well as relief supplies including pre-prepared meals and drinking water.

Typhoon Odette has intensified rapidly in the past hours, adding urgency to emergency preparations made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said:

“Red Cross emergency teams are urgently helping as tens of thousands of families bunker down for the most powerful storm they have faced this year. Volunteers are equipping shelters with blankets, first aid and food supplies. We are doing thit to protect the people.

“Filipinos are tough but this Super Typhoon is a bitter blow for millions of people who are still recovering from devastating storms, floods and COVID-19 in the past year.”

Typhoon Odette is one of the most powerful storms to menace the Philippines in recent years. Millions of people are still rebuilding their homes and livelihoods that were shattered in eight major storms that battered the country late last year.

IFRC Head of Philippine Country Office Alberto Bocanegra said:

“This monster storm is frightening and threatens to hit coastal communities like a freight train. We are very concerned that climate change is making typhoons more ferocious and unpredictable.

“Red Cross emergency teams are in overdrive to help people evacuate, minimize loss of life and get any help needed in the face of this dangerous storm.”

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms each year. In October, Tropical storm Kompasu affected more than 200,000 people in the north of the country and swamped thousands of homes.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

In Kuala Lumpur:
Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451,
[email protected]