Most powerful typhoon since Haiyan wreaks havoc across Taiwan and coastal China

 

satellite image of Typhoon Meranti

Image © EUMETSAT

China and Taiwan are counting the cost of Super-Typhoon Meranti, the most powerful storm to make landfall in SE Asia since deadly Haiyan in 2013, and the strongest so far anywhere in the world this year

The typhoon season got off to a violent start in the last 24 hours as a category five typhoon – the highest rating – caused damage and evacuation across three countries in South East Asia. Super-typhoon Maranti made landfall on the China coast around Fujian Province earlier today, having already tracked across small Philippine islands in the Luzon Strait, and caused major blackouts and structural damage in Taiwan.

Maranti has hit China during a three day festival and public holiday, flooding streets, crushing cars, and forcing mass evacuations from homes and harbours in the path of the storm.

It is the strongest typhoon to hit that part of China since 1949, with winds of up to 230 miles per hour. Although wind speeds lessened after landfall, and it has since been downgraded to a category 2, they were strong enough to knock down trees and smash windows. A bizarre image was of a giant inflated moon sculpture careering down Xiamen’s city streets, dislodged from part of a display marking the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The powerful storm first brushed southern Taiwan, killing one person and injuring 44. Almost a million homes lost power, and half a million had water supply problems. Hundreds of thousands of buildings are in need of repair on Taiwan. Forewarning of the typhoon caused tens of thousands of people to be evacuated, and fishing fleets to be called back to port.

Although the Philippines avoided most of the storm, there are fears for those on some small inhabited islands in the Luzon Strait, including 3000 who live on Itbayat. It is not known yet how well they were able to either evacuate or shelter.

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has been monitoring Meranti’s course over recent days. ShelterBox has years of experience in assisting Philippine communities during the annual hurricane seasons, and was a major aid player following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which killed 6,300.

Alice Jefferson, from ShelterBox’s Operations team in Cornwall, UK says, ‘Meranti signals the start of a season which sees powerful storms brewing out in the Pacific, and tracking across various parts of SE Asia, particularly the hundreds of Philippine islands. For most areas Meranti came with sufficient warning for preparations to be made, but nonetheless there has been widespread damage, distress and injury.’

‘ShelterBox is standing by to see whether any Philippine islanders need our assistance, and whether their Government calls for aid. Taiwan and China have well-developed emergency provision, so it is unlikely the international community would be called to assist.’

ShelterBox Monitors Typhoon Koppu In The Philippines

Response Team volunteer Harry Roberts with a ShelterBox relief tent in San Roca, Albay, Philippines August 2014.

Response Team volunteer Harry Roberts with a ShelterBox relief tent in San Roca, Albay, Philippines August 2014.

 

ShelterBox is standing by to help the islanders of Luzon in the Philippines, as 220 kmph winds and coastal surges have displaced an estimated 20,000 people on the country’s main island

In the largest displacement of people since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, as many as 20,000 are thought to have fled their homes in the Philippines.

Typhoon Koppu hit in the early hours of Sunday morning. Homes have been flattened, power lines brought down, and 12 foot sea surges have threatened coastal communities. But now it is heavy and continuous rain that is the main concern.

Koppu, also known as Lando, is up to 650 kilometres wide. The very slow-moving typhoon made landfall near the town of Casiguran on the island of Luzon. Luzon is the main administrational island, home to half the population of the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. Meteorologists predict at least a further three days of torrential rain, maybe up to a metre, which brings the possibly of landslides and flash floods. The north of the island is mountainous, so upland communities are being affected by rivers in spate.

Only two casualties have been reported so far, one a teenage boy who died when a tree toppled onto houses in the capital Manila. The Philippine Government had advance notice of Koppu’s approach, and around 7,000 people were evacuated. President Benigno Aquino made a televised warning, the first time he has done so since super-typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300.

Those in the worst hit areas may need to find their own shelter, food and water for up to 72 hours until the typhoon passes over. There will be transport challenges for aid agencies until the torrential rain ceases. Although soldiers are at work clearing main roads of debris, power and communications remain damaged over large areas, and flights, ferries and public transport are interrupted.

ShelterBox responded to Haiyan in 2013, and continued to help throughout 2014 and into this year. As well as providing emergency shelter and reaching remote communities, the charity also worked in partnership with other agencies to provide 1,700 transitional shelters made largely from locally sourced materials, designed to better withstand the Philippines’ stormy climate.

ShelterBox has aid stored at key transport hubs across SE Asia, Australia and the Gulf, which could be mobilised if required. Its Operations HQ at Helston in Cornwall has response teams ready to deploy once the storm has subsided if help is requested by the Philippine Government, and once air and sea links are restored.

ShelterBox Tents Save Lives in Philippines

SRT members Abner Tayco (PH) and Liz Odell (UK) speaking to one of thousands affected by Typhoon Utor, Philippines, August 2013.

SRT members Abner Tayco (PH) and Liz Odell (UK) speaking to one of thousands affected by Typhoon Utor, Philippines, August 2013.

 

Typhoon Utor wreaked havoc in Luzon, one of the largest Philippine islands, two weeks ago. The storm has not only displaced thousands of people but also damaged infrastructure including hospitals, affecting much needed medical services, particularly in the Aurora Province where ShelterBox has been assessing the needs of the communities.   
‘The hospital’s roof was completely blown off on the night the storm hit,’ said Dr. Nelia Diesta, the assistant hospital administrator in Casiguran municipality hospital. ‘We were forced to move patients to the small area of the hospital that remained intact which has meant that many patients are being made to stay outside under some tarpaulin. Patients are also being seen to slowly due to the lack of space.’
The hospital is already relatively small and serves four municipalities, it cannot close. Furthermore, rebuilding efforts are likely to take months to make the building safe again. Therefore a few ShelterBox tents that were already prepositioned in the country are being used to accommodate patients.
Damaged hospital in Casiguran, Aurora Province, Philippines, August 2013.

Damaged hospital in Casiguran, Aurora Province, Philippines, August 2013.

 

‘Lacerations’
‘There has been an influx of patients since the storm as it inflicted injuries, like lacerations, upon people,’ said ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member Liz Odell (UK). ‘Setting up the tents here enables more patients to be seen per day quickly and gives them a clean private space to recover. It’s the only hospital for 100 miles and therefore a vital contribution to the communities’ wellbeing.’
The SRT continues with assessments in and around the capital city of Manila as heavy rains continue.
‘Even being from the Philippines, I have never seen such poverty and isolation,’ said SRT member Abner Tayco (PH). ‘Typhoon Utor has had a particularly destructive impact on the region as it was the strongest to hit in many years.’
You can help families affected by disaster by DONATING HERE. Thank you

 

 

ShelterBox Toolkits Help Rebuild Lives in Philippines

Destruction left behind by Typhoon Utor in Casiguran, Luzon island, Philippines, August 2013.

Destruction left behind by Typhoon Utor in Casiguran, Luzon island, Philippines, August 2013.

‘It was like the end of the world for us,’ said Mayor Racky ‘Rick’ Bitong of Casiguran in the Philippines following Typhoon Utor. ‘95% of our evacuation centres were destroyed and the evacuees had to run to neighbouring houses. Thankfully no one was killed.’
Typhoon Utor hit Luzon, one of the main Philippine islands, early last week. Bitong continued to tell the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) whilst it was carrying out needs assessments that even though the isolated area is used to storms, rebuilding efforts have been hampered as even the family-run small hardware businesses have been destroyed and are therefore unable to supply the communities’ needs.
ShelterBox is filling this need by sending toolkits from in-country prepositioned aid in Clark, Manila to be distributed in the area.
‘In my eight deployments, this is the toughest challenge I have ever had to face in terms of travelling through very rough terrain simply to reach the affected area,’ said SRT member Liz Odell (UK).
Mrs. Zaliver Baranguy Lual standing where her home and store used to be before the storm hit, Casiguran, Philippines, August 2013.

Mrs. Zaliver Baranguy Lual standing where her home and store used to be before the storm hit, Casiguran, Philippines, August 2013.

‘The community in Casiguran has no basic equipment to help them make repairs to their homes so the toolkits will be vital in the displaced people’s ability to begin rebuilding their lives.’
Fearing for their lives
The toolkits will help people like Mrs. Zaliver Baranguy Lual, who lost her house and her family’s livelihood, a small store on their property. While she huddled with her four children, her husband tried to keep their belongings secured under tarps. Fearing for their lives, they took shelter in a neighbour’s masonry home. That home, in turn, lost its roof during the storm and they were forced out again.
‘We were hugging all together and crying, frightened that we were all going to die, for several hours as the storm continued through the night,’ said Zaliver.
Thank you
Thanks to our generous supporters worldwide, Zaliver, her family and the rest of the community in Casiguran have the opportunity to start over and not only rebuild their homes but also their livelihoods.
This the first of many typhoons forecast to hit The Philippines this year, help us be prepared to respond quickly,

ShelterBox Responds to Typhoon in the Philippines

Typhoon Utor made landfall as a Category 3 storm over the northern Philippines in the early morning hours of August 12, 2013.  Image courtesy of Nasa/Earth Observatory.

Typhoon Utor made landfall as a Category 3 storm over the northern Philippines in the early morning hours of August 12, 2013. Image courtesy of Nasa/Earth Observatory.

 

The Philippines has been hit by another powerful typhoon leaving thousands of people homeless on the main northern island of Luzon. A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is currently travelling to the Asian country to assess the situation.
Typhoon Utor (locally known as Labuyo) made landfall earlier this week, bringing winds of up to 185 kph (115 mph), damaging agriculture and infrastructure as well as uprooting trees making roads impassable. Communication and electricity services have also been affected.
‘The storm crossed northern Luzon as a Category 3 typhoon and also affected the Bicol and Aurora regions, northern Samar and the eastern coast Luzon, including Polillo Island,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Dave Ray.
‘This path is historically prone to destructive weather patterns and there is a high level of community preparedness with government focus on building resilience among the communities. So we have deployed an assessment SRT to the region to explore the possibility of assisting and coordinating with existing humanitarian response operations.’
n April 2013, an intense typhoon carved a path of destruction through the Philippines leaving many families in desperate need of emergency shelter.

n April 2013, an intense typhoon carved a path of destruction through the Philippines leaving many families in desperate need of emergency shelter.

 

SRT member Liz Odell (UK) has been on deployment to the Philippines before but says it’s going to be different:
‘Last time I was in the Philippines I was at the tail end of the deployment, distributing the last of the ShelterBoxes and tents which had been moved to Davao on Mindanao island. This time I’m leading the first team in, only three days after Typhoon Utor struck.
‘Flash flooding and landslides’
‘We have made contact with Plan International, another aid agency who is doing assessments in the Aurora region, and plan to join them on Friday after flying into the capital Manila very late on Thursday. We have been warned that travel is very slow and some roads are impassable due to flash flooding and landslides. So for me personally it’s a very different deployment.’
Liz is also being joined by Steve Gibson (US) as well as in-country SRT member Abner Tayco (PH) with his local knowledge and expertise of the area, who has already organised transport, routes, local phones and accommodation.
‘Unaware of mass suffering’
‘Coming from Boulder, Colorado, I’m continually struck by how isolated we can be,’ commented Steve. ‘Here we have been completely unaware of mass suffering, like this typhoon, as it’s not in the media.
‘Being deployed to try and assist the communities who have lost everything not only provides a chance to help bring shelter and dignity to the survivors, but it’s a reminder of just how fortunate those of us who read the news, rather than live it, really are.’
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