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Huge relief effort underway in the Philippines


Typhoon Bopha has left more than 130,000 people seeking shelter in evacuation centres, Red Cross is providing emergency relief across the southern Philippines.

Thursday December 13, 2012

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International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Philippines Red Cross are assisting with the response across the affected areas. Photo: IFRC/ Franz Nikko Lacsina

Australian Red Cross CEO, Robert Tickner, said the humanitarian consequences of Typhoon Bopha are worse than was originally thought in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

"In some cases entire villages have been devastated and reaching the more remote areas of eastern side of the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines has been very difficult with roads blocked and bridges washed away," said Mr Tickner.

"Philippine Red Cross teams on the ground have established emergency medical stations and provided food, bedding, tents and water storage containers to around 25,000 people. Meanwhile, more supplies are on their way and rescue and assessment teams continue to travel to some of the more remote areas affected by the typhoon.

"We should also not forget the small Pacific island of Palau, which also bore the brunt of Typhoon Bopha and is now busy rebuilding homes and infrastructure damaged by the storm."

The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is supporting the relief effort with emergency funds, relief supplies and disaster management experts.

Australian Red Cross has a longstanding program in the Philippines to assist with disaster preparedness and management. In addition, Australian Red Cross is utilising emergency water and sanitation equipment from pre-positioned stocks in Malaysia to assist with the relief effort.

Australian aid worker, Catherine Gearing, who is helping coordinate the Red Cross response from Manila said in addition to the tragic loss of life, tens of thousands of people have been rendered homeless or with no means to meet their basic needs after their houses and livelihoods were washed away.

"The clean-up and recovery from this disaster will be a major challenge. In the affected areas of Mindanao the typhoon has had a massive impact on agricultural production, decimating the plantations in the area that local people rely on. These crop losses will have a serious impact on the ability of survivors to recover and provide for their families in the months ahead," said Ms Gearing.

To support the work of Red Cross helping people before, during and after emergencies in Australia and around the world please donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

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