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Thousands displaced as Typhoon Bopha hits Philippines

December 5 2012 - Christian Aid is releasing emergency funds to local partners to purchase food and distribute emergency cash to vulnerable communities displaced by Typhoon Bopha.  Thousands of people are still in evacuation centres after the typhoon hit eastern Mindanao, in the Philippines, yesterday morning.

The typhoon has caused widespread flooding, mudslides and damage to buildings and bridges.  The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reports that more than 170,000 have been evacuated, with 274 confirmed deaths, 339 injured, and many still missing.  Bopha comes almost exactly a year after Typhoon Washi which killed more than 1,300 people in Mindanao.

This year the government, humanitarian organisations and communities have been much better prepared, resulting in a significant reduction in loss of life.

Alwynn Javier, Christian Aid’s Emergency Officer, said: ‘Following last year’s storm, communities have been better prepared and lives have been saved.  Christian Aid installed rain gauges and flood watch points, which alerted local communities to evacuate.

‘Also, an early text messaging based warning system, put in place after Washi and funded by Christian Aid’s Typhoon Washi emergency appeal, proved valuable in helping to prepare and co-ordinate evacuations and minimise the impact of the typhoon in areas including Baungon, Bukidnon, where farms and houses along waterways have been damaged.

‘Initial reports from Christian Aid partners in Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon indicate significant damage to homes in the villages along the Bubunawan and Cagayan de Oro rivers. 

‘Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental appear to be the most heavily hit provinces in terms of wind damage, landslides and casualties, with hundreds of people still missing.  Our partners are currently undertaking damage and needs assessments in areas including Compostela Valley, Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur,’ added Javier.

The storm is now just west of Palawan island, affecting the same communities as last year’s cyclone Washi, and is heading towards the West Philippine Sea.  Christian Aid is continuously monitoring the situation to help prepare partners to provide emergency support to affected communities.

Donate: we have already provided £50,000 for immediate response to flooding in the Philippines, please help us to respond to this and future emergencies.

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If you would like further information please contact Melanie Smith at msmith@christian-aid.org or 0207 523 2416. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950 

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around some 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. We believe that the underlying causes of poverty were made by, and can be ended by, human action. Our strategy for building the power of us all to end poverty is embodied in a new report ‘Partnership for Change’: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/2012_strategy.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 125 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.  Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk