Mass evacuations as Philippines await Typhoon Hagupit | ActionAid UK

Tens of thousands of people have evacuated their homes as Typhoon Hagupit, locally know as Typhoon Ruby, approaches the Philippines.

Some of the millions of houses destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan
The aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, in the City of Tacloban in 2013

Hagupit is currently moving with speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour.

It is on course for the Eastern and Northern Samar provinces and the city of Tacloban, where thousands were tragically killed by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago. There is, however, a 25 per cent chance that the path of the storm may recurve.

Hagupit is due to hit land on Saturday, during the night, which will not only make it more terrifying for people, but considerably more challenging to save lives.

Panic and fear

Our aid workers have told us that:

  • people have started panic-buying food and emergency items like torches, batteries, candles, radios and cellophane.
  • people are understandably very afraid and in many areas have evacuated themselves.
  • the President is warning the country to prepare for the worst. He is considering declaring a state of calamity, to ensure a fast humanitarian response.

Preparations and evacuations

In the past 48 hours, ActionAid has been working with people in the regions of Northern Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Antique, Eastern and Western Samar to:

  • evacuate families to safer sites, such as churches, schools and a specially built evacuation centre in Iloilo.
  • prepare supplies of food and shelter materials.
  • put in place an emergency response plan in the event that Hagupit does make landfall.

In recent months, ActionAid has helped train 16,000 people to prepare for future emergencies, including evacuation practice, search and rescue, and first aid.

Legacy of Typhoon Haiyan

Communities have only just started to recover from the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan last year, which affected 14 million people, killed over six thousand people and displaced four million people.

Many people are still living in temporary shelter. Others have only partially rebuilt their homes and livelihoods.

In the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, ActionAid helped over 160,000 of the most vulnerable people, including orphans, single mothers, elderly people with disabilities and people living in the furthest and hard-to-reach areas. A second typhoon could devastate these communities all over again.