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Red Cross teams on the ground along Typhoon Mangkhut's path

Red Cross volunteers and staff across the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China are working around the clock to get help to people most in need as Typhoon Mangkhut continues its trail of destruction.

Red Cross teams in the Philippines are serving meals to people affected by Typhoon Mangkhut. Photo: Philippine Red Cross/International Federation of the Red Cross

The category 5 typhoon – which made landfall in the northern Philippines on Saturday 15 September – is right now making its way across southern China. At least 120 million people are in its path.

In the Philippines the typhoon brought floods and landslides and cut electricity and phone lines. Reports so far say at least 20 people have been killed and more than 270,000 people have been affected. The number of dead is expected to rise.

Philippine Red Cross carried out evacuations and pre-positioned its specialist teams and equipment – including generators, a water treatment unit, ambulances and trucks – in the typhoon’s track. In the aftermath, these teams are assessing damage and needs, serving hot meals in the evacuation centres, handing out thermal blankets and other essential emergency aid items, as well as helping clear debris.

Some of the destruction in Baggao, the Philippines where the typoon made landfall. Photo: Philippine Red Cross/International Federation of Red Cross

They’re concerned about communities not yet reached with emergency help. Some remote areas have been cut off because roads and bridges have been blocked and other communities are accessible only by boat or by walking for many hours.

Mangkhut also struck an area where a quarter of the population live on just a few dollars a day, often earned by agricultural day labour. It came just a month before the harvest was due. With this income drastically reduced, some people won’t have many resources to recover, rebuild or feed their families. Philippines Red Cross is looking at how it can help people over the coming weeks and months.

After hitting the Philippines, Typhoon Mangkhut barrelled west making landfall in Hong Kong on Sunday 16 September.

The Red Cross Society of China has also been on the ground helping with the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and has pre-positioned its specialist emergency response teams, including search and rescue teams, along the typhoon’s route.

A home damaged when Typoon Mangkhut hit the Philippines. Photo: Philippine Red Cross/International Federation of the Red Cross

Reports from Hong Kong so far say more than 110 people were injured, a swath of buildings damaged and roads blocked. There is flooding and landslides and thousands of homes are without power. Red Cross teams are supplying clothing and necessities to people camped out in some of the evacuation shelters and are standing by to provide emergency relief and psychological support services if needed.

Keep up-to-date with the latest developments on the Red Cross response to Typhoon Mangkhut.

This was an extraordinary storm, but Red Cross teams on the ground are reporting that preparedness measures put in place in both the Philippines and China have helped to ensure the effects weren’t as bad as many feared.

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