Philippines is preparing for super typhoon Hagupit – humanitarian work already started

A classroom built by Finn Church Aid in Santa Magrita, Philippines. Next to the building is a hand washing station. Photo: Pasi Aaltonen

For the second time in little over a year, Philippines is again under a threat of a super typhoon, this time called Hagupit (local name Ruby). Currently it seems likely that Hagupit will hit the same areas still recovering from the typhoon Haiyan that struck Philippines in November last year. Humanitarian organisations in the area are distributing rice and hygiene materials in preparation for the typhoon. Finn Church Aid is in full preparedness for catastrophe.

The typhoon is estimated to hit tomorrow, Saturday afternoon local time.

“To us the most important thing is to get the information from people to people so they can prepare themselves. We have already sent food aid to the potential disaster areas”, Joselito Sosmena, an Emergency Aid Coordinator for the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, says.

According to the National weather bureay PAGASA, the typhoon will bring with it extremely strong winds, that may reach the velocity of 250 kph. In addition to the gusty winds, there will be torrential rain and 3- to 4-meter high storm surges.

ACT Alliance, a coalition of faith-based humanitarian organisations, is monitoring the situation closely. It has cautioned communities and its partners and has emergency aid teams in full preparedness.

The survivors of typhoon Haiyan are praying that the approaching typhoon Hagupit wouldn’t be as destructive as last year. Haiyan left more than 7 000 dead or missing and more than 4 million homeless. About 25 000 people are still living in tents, shelters and bunkhouses.

The government is urging people living in high-risk areas and unsafe dwellings to evacuate as soon as possible.

Ulla Kärki, a Communications Officer for Finn Church Aid, has been in Philippines participating in the rebuilding work after Haiyan since April. She is available in Manila for reporters.

Less than a month ago, Finn Church Aid finished building 47 new class buildings to replace the schools that were destroyed by the typhoon Haiyan. The schools built by Finn Church Aid can withstand a level three storm. And Hagupit is currently estimated to be a level three storm.

Finn Church Aid’s Humanitarian team is monitoring the situation and is in full preparedness to take decisive action.

For additional information:
Ulla Kärki, a Communications Officer for Finn Church Aid (time difference +6 hours), tel. +358 50 576 7948, or +63 9178836939, or +63 998 557 6569
Eija Alajarva, Head of Humanitarian Assistance, Finn Church Aid, tel. + 358 40 582 1183
Maija Sankari, Head of Communications, tel. + 358 40 559 4030