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Philippines: Food reaches typhoon victims in Samar

17-11-2013 News Release

Geneva / Manila (ICRC) – Much-needed aid has reached residents of Guiuan, Mercedes and Salcedo, in south-eastern Samar where Typhoon Haiyan swept away several shoreline communities in the central Philippines.

Today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Philippine Red Cross started distributing food (rice, oil, sugar, salt, soy sauce, coffee and tins of sardines) to 10,860 families (54,300 people). The beneficiaries also received soap.

“This is only the start,” said Pascal Mauchle, head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines. “Today's shipment arrived in Guiuan by air. On Tuesday, however, we plan to reach people in Homonhon and Suluan – small isolated islands near Guiuan – by boat. We'll distribute food and other essential items including tarpaulins, blankets, mats, towels, jerrycans and hygiene items for 8,500 people.”

Guiuan, a district of nearly 48,000 people, was one of the places hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan when it made landfall there. Most structures were massively damaged and the population was cut off from vital supplies.

Over the past week, ICRC staff have been working around the clock in Samar to get some basic infrastructure operating. They have also assessed the most pressing needs: food, safe drinking water and basic health care.

Distributions of food and, later, other essential items including tarpaulins will also be organized in other coastal towns. Meanwhile, in the most severely devastated areas – mainly along the south coast of Samar – ICRC engineers and Philippine Red Cross staff will be working on repairing the water-supply system. In coming days, the ICRC and the national Red Cross plan to expand the operation to further areas.

As part of its initial response to the disaster, the ICRC also furnished basic medical supplies such as dressing materials, antibiotics, painkillers and intravenous sets to the district hospital in Basey.

The ICRC is coordinating its relief efforts with the Philippine Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and National Red Cross Societies from around the world. The ICRC is focusing its efforts on Samar island, which has been affected by armed conflict and where the organization has been working for many years.

For its relief operation in response to Typhoon Haiyan in Samar, the ICRC has launched an initial appeal for 15 million Swiss francs (over 16 million US dollars) to aid 180,000 people for a period of three months.

For further information, please contact:
Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 918 907 2125
Cecilia Goin, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 999 887 0969
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel : +63 908 8686884
Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 30 23  or  +41 79 251 93 02


Photos

Much-needed aid has reached residents of Guiuan, Mercedes and Salcedo, in south-eastern Samar 

Much-needed aid has reached residents of Guiuan, Mercedes and Salcedo, in south-eastern Samar.
© ICRC

A woman receives water at a military checkpoint where she and her child wait to be airlifted to Manila in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan at the Tacloban airport 

A woman receives water at a military checkpoint where she and her child wait to be airlifted to Manila in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan at the Tacloban airport
© Reuters

A rainbow appears above typhoon survivors desperate to catch a flight from the Tacloban airport  

A rainbow appears above typhoon survivors desperate to catch a flight from the Tacloban airport
© Reuters / Damir Sagolj

Survivors, desperate to fly out of their Typhoon Haiyan-devastated town, wait outside a destroyed building at Tacloban airport   

Survivors, desperate to fly out of their Typhoon Haiyan-devastated town, wait outside a destroyed building at Tacloban airport
© Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay