6 December, 2014 - Plan on the ground, ready to respond as typhoon threatens Philippines

Plan International staff are available for updates, grabs and interviews, etc, today and will be available throughout the weekend. They can provide the latest information on the typhoon and its impact.
Australian Richard Sandison, Disaster Response Manager, is on the ground in Tacloban, expected to be at the heart of the typhoon. He is in constant contact with Plan staff across the affected regions.
Carin van der Hor, Country Director, and Marco Savio, Deputy Country Director, are available in Manila, and are in constant contact with the government, the UN and other key agencies.
Please ring Adam Cathro on 0488 202 945 to arrange interviews or for any further information.

Plan International is on the ground and ready to respond to Typhoon Hagupit, which is expected to slam into the Philippines at around 5 am AEDT (2am local time), bringing with it destructive winds of up to 230 km/h and storm surges as high as a one-story building.

The Typhoon, known locally as Ruby, is expected to make landfall over Eastern Samar, where Typhoon Haiyan hit last year. It is expected to follow a similar path to Haiyan, the biggest storm ever to make landfall and which killed thousands and left swathes of the Philippines devastated. The latest typhoon is expected to affect around 13 million people.

Around 24,000 families in Eastern Samar have now been evacuated, and power outages have been reported over Tacloban City, now described by local Plan staff as “a ghost town”. Tacloban is the biggest city in the region, and bore the brunt of last year’s devastation at the hands of Typhoon Haiyan.

Plan has prepositioned relief items on the island, including thousands of water kits, hygiene kits, tarpaulins and infant kits.

“Obviously we have been here before and we are ready for Typhoon Hagupit. We have prepositioned aid right where it will be needed after the storm and we stand ready to respond to any devastation or destruction it might bring,” says Carin van der Hor, Plan International’s Country Director.

“This typhoon is the last thing the people of the Philippines, particularly Samar, need. We have all worked so hard to get back on our feet after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan and have made enormous progress. It’s heartbreaking to think that so much of that work is threatened,” van der Hor says.

Plan is also concerned about the children who will be caught up in the impact of Typhoon Hagupit.

“The children of the Philippines have already been through so much, and it looks like they are about to experience another frightening and devastating typhoon,” Van der Hor says. “High levels of stress in the aftermath of a natural disaster can affect children’s development, and there is little more stressful than a major typhoon just a year after experiencing the biggest storm ever to make landfall.”

“The children who went through Haiyan are only just recovering and will need a great deal of extra support to ensure that this latest typhoon does not become a major setback for them.”

“We stand ready to come to the aid of children caught up in this typhoon. After Haiyan, we supported the recovery of hundreds of thousands of children and we are ready to continue that crucial work. No child deserves to go through something like this twice, and we will do all we can to help,” van der Hor says.

Plan International is one of the Philippines' longest-serving humanitarian and development organisations, with a special focus on helping marginalised children across the country to access their rights to health, education, livelihoods, disaster risk management and protection.

Editors’ notes:
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 75 years ago, working in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious or political affiliations.

Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International in Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945