Water, food and shelter first priorities in communities devastated by Typhoon Phanfone

December 27, 2019 – Coastal communities hit by Typhoon Phanfone urgently need food, clean water and shelter, Oxfam warned today. Many of the communities were still recovering from the impacts of Typhoon Kammuri which hit the areas earlier this month.

Typhoon Phanfone (known locally as Ursula) made landfall seven times between 24 and 25 December causing devastation across The Philippines.

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Oxfam Philippines Country Director Maria Rosario Felizco said: “Oxfam is deeply concerned for the communities hit by Typhoon Phanfone. Many people were still struggling to get back on their feet after another typhoon earlier this month.”

Oxfam is working closely with local humanitarian agency People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN) to assess the damage from the storm. Teams visited four towns in Leyte and Eastern Samar and found severe damage to homes with many families living in makeshift shelters.

Esteban Masagca, PDRRN Executive Director said:

 “Families are urgently requesting emergency shelter materials because the storm completely destroyed their homes. Families need bedding and mosquito nets, especially as dengue continues to be a major threat in the communities. Water refilling stations aren’t operating, because there is no power and clean water kits will be crucial to prevent diseases, as many sources of water have been contaminated. Thousands of families will enter the New Year without food or a home.”

Oxfam staff member Leah Payud, based in Leyte, where the typhoon made one of its landfalls, described the devastation experienced by her community: “The typhoon has carved the same path as Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Although weaker, it’s devastating impacts are widely felt, especially here in Leyte, where houses have been damaged and electric posts toppled. We spent Christmas Day in total darkness.”

Felizco said: “Oxfam and our partners are working closely with local government and other humanitarian agencies to ensure the immediate needs of survivors are addressed effectively. We will prioritize the needs of women and girls throughout our emergency assessment and response.”