Typhoon Haiyan, reported by media outlets as possibly the strongest tropical cycloneExternal Link in recorded history, made landfall Friday morning local time in Samar, central Philippines.
World Vision is launching an emergency response to help affected vulnerable children and families.
‘The impact has been tremendous’
As many as 10,000 people are feared dead, and more than 600,000 are displaced after Typhoon Haiyan left a wake of utter destruction over the weekend.
The death toll is likely to increase, as first responders come to grips with the true cost of the most powerful storm ever to make landfall.
“The impact has been tremendous. It’s reported to be the biggest typhoon of the year, and it is,” said Gjeff Lamigo, World Vision communications manager in Manila.
About 9.5 million people were affected, reports the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Haiyan wreaked havoc on the country’s telecommunications, agriculture, and transportation infrastructure, delaying recovery and relief efforts.
A race against the clock
The greatest challenge is clearing roads and restoring power and water supplies for displaced families. “It’s us against the clock as we try to provide them with the necessary aid that they need.” says Aaron Aspi, a World Vision communications officer.
“We saw lots of children begging for food and water. When you look at the mountains, they look bare and stripped of all vegetation,” Aspi recalls. “There is massive mourning over loss of lives. It’s difficult to see people crying and in shock over this catastrophe.”
Massive response begins
World Vision is launching one of its largest relief operations in five decades of ministry in the Philippines to help nearly 400,000 people affected by the disaster. The organization is seeking to raise $20 million for this effort.
More than 500 local staff members are mobilizing to help provide food, blankets, mosquito nets, tarps, hygiene kits, and emergency shelter. Child-Friendly Spaces will help children cope with the emotional impact, play in a calm, safe environment, and catch up on missed schoolwork.
Assessment teams struggled to clear roads as they tried to reach families in more remote communities.
“Devastation is immense. I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Aspi says. “Families were told to leave the danger zones to higher ground, but with the magnitude of this typhoon, even some of the evacuation centers were washed out.”
The storm affected more than 35,000 sponsored children in 21 development project areas where World Vision works, including Bohol, which was badly damaged by last month’s earthquake. U.S. donors sponsor more than 5,600 of those children, in Leyte and Antique.
Josaias dela Cruz, World Vision national director in the Philippines, appeals for a compassionate global response. “Please continue to uphold in prayer our responding staff and the suffering people in the Visayas and other typhoon-stricken areas. Now is the time to join our hearts, extend our helping hands, and work together to rebuild and uplift our fellow peoples’ lives.”
Please prayExternal Link for children, families, and communities affected by this terrible storm, and pray for those working to assist survivors who are in desperate need.
Make a one-time donation to World Vision’s Philippines Disaster Response Fund. Your contribution will help us deliver life-saving assistance in the aftermath of sudden-onset emergencies in the Philippines, like Typhoon Haiyan.
Sponsor a child in the Philippines today. By investing in the life of a boy or girl in need, you’ll help provide life-giving basics and resilience for an entire community in the aftermath of devastating disasters like Typhoon Haiyan. http://youtu.be/mnnsJhcLU1M