Typhoon Haiyan swept across the central Philippines on Friday leaving a trail of massive destruction in its wake. With sustained winds reported at over 145 miles per hour, and significantly stronger gusts, Haiyan was the second category 5 typhoon to strike the Philippines this year.
The typhoon affected 4.3 million people across 36 provinces. Philippine Red Cross volunteers throughout the region are reporting significant damage and a growing death toll, while the full extent of the devastation continues to unfold. Currently, 1,200 evacuation centers are housing more than 330,000 people left homeless by the storm.
The American Red Cross deployed two disaster relief specialists on Saturday to assist in the assessment and relief efforts. Since communication is still very limited in the hardest hit communities, the American Red Cross will also send two telecommunication specialists and a satellite system in the coming days.
The Red Cross has activated its family tracing services. If you are looking for a missing family member in the Philippines, please remember that many phones lines are down. Please continue trying. If you are still unable to reach them, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a tracing case.
Philippine Red Cross volunteer rescue and relief teams are providing assistance in the hardest hit communities, including assisting in search and rescue efforts and distributing food and relief supplies to survivors.
As Haiyan approaches Vietnam the Red Cross continues its relief efforts to communities affected by Typhoons Wutip and Nari, including an American Red Cross volunteer working there.
People who want to donate to the American Red Cross to support the response for this typhoon can go to redcross.org
For corporate or larger community fundraising events, please contact your local Red Cross chapter at 843-764-2323. Contact information for your local Red Cross can be found on www.redcross.org
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit Redcross.org.