As rescue and assessment teams reach areas affected by Typhoon Bopha, the scale of devastation wrought by the storm continues to emerge. The government has declared 50 provinces, cities and municipalities under state of calamity. The typhoon has affected the lives of over 5 million people, wrecked over 70,000 houses and left more than 133,000 people seeking shelter in temporary evacuation centres.
In some cases entire villages have been devastated, but reaching some of the more remote areas of Eastern Mindanao has been a huge challenge with roads blocked or washed away and bridges collapsed.
The Philippine Red Cross is rolling out a massive relief operation. Teams on the ground have so far provided food and non-food supplies such as bedding and water storage containers to some 5,000 families in need.
Red Cross assessment teams, who have been surveying the scale of the destruction since the deadly storm made landfall, have described the scale of devastation that they have witnessed as staggering. According to disaster authorities, while 600 people have been killed almost 800 people are still missing.
Providing communities with food, shelter and clean water are immediate priorities. So far, Philippine Red Cross staff and volunteers have served ready-to-eat meals to 15,000 people in evacuation centres, delivered food packages to 5,000 families and provided non-food supplies such as sleeping mats, blankets, hygiene items, jerry cans and tents to 1,000 families.
Philippine Red Cross chapters are also surveying the scale of destruction the typhoon caused in other provinces, such as Bukidnon and Palawan where relief supplies have been dispatched.
It is expected that the results of these ongoing assessments will lead to an increased need for international support to enable the Philippine Red Cross to scale its operations up on the ground.
Canadians wishing to support Typhoon Bopha response efforts in the Philippines can make a financial donation to our Philippines Typhoon Fund online at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111 or by contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office.