Volunteers in action as millions of people are affected by Typhoon Haiyan

Topics: National, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
November 11, 2013

Finding family in the Philippines

Natural disasters, such as Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines, create chaos and confusion. They often separate loved ones when they need each other most. The Canadian Red Cross Restoring Family Links Program helps people re-establish contact with their family members after separation in such circumstances.

If you are seeking a family member in the Philippines please contact your local Canadian Red Cross office to confidentially discuss your request with a trained volunteer or staff member, or visit us online at: redcross.ca/familylinks.

Typhoon Haiyan – one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded – tore through the Visayas region of central Philippines on Friday, November 8, 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 has devastated buildings, communities and families.

Over 618,000 people have been displaced and over 1,450 evacuation centres have been opened. Damage to critical infrastructure has made rapid assessment difficult, and authorities are still determining casualty figures, however, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, it is estimated that more than 5.4 million people have been affected by the storm across 40 provinces.

Staff and volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross have been active with search and rescue and have been doing assessments since the storm hit. Delivery of immediate relief continues alongside efforts to rescue people who are trapped. Items being mobilized include food, blankets, jerry cans, hygiene kits and sleeping mats.

Emergency response teams have been deployed to deal with all aspects of the relief operation. The Canadian Red Cross, with support from both the Norwegian Red Cross and Hong Kong Red Cross, is deploying its Basic Health Care (BHC) Emergency Response Unit (ERU) to the Philippines. This field hospital can provide outpatient clinic services, and deliver psycho-social support and community health services. It can serve a community of 30,000, including care for 20 temporary inpatients, and referral services to other health facilities. The role of the field hospital is to support the local health authorities and to fill the short-term gaps in health services created by the typhoon.

Canadians wishing to help those affected by this storm are encouraged to make a financial donation online at www.redcross.ca, at their local Red Cross office or by calling 1-800-418-1111. Please earmark donations “Typhoon Haiyan”. The Government of Canada will match the donations of individual Canadians between November 8 and December 23, 2013.