Typhoon Haiyan continues to cut a swath of destruction across Visayas in central Philippines. With sustained winds reported at over 145 miles per hour, and significantly stronger gust, Haiyan may prove to be one of the most intense storms on record.
Red Cross volunteers in areas where the typhoon has already made landfall are reporting significant damages although a clearer picture will only emerge once the storm subsides and communications is restored. The American Red Cross is in close contact with our counterparts in the Philippines and is ready to provide assistance if requested.
Although the eye of the storm will not make landfall on the Island of Bohol, severe weather and heavy rains accompanying the typhoon are expected to worsen the humanitarian situation for survivors of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck in mid-October. With their homes damaged or destroyed, some 270,000 people in Bohol are living in makeshift shelters.
As Haiyan leaves the Philippines, it will continue northwest across the South China sea and is expected to make landfall in central Vietnam, causing extensive damage in the same areas where thousands of people were left homeless following Typhoons Wutip and Nari, both of which struck in the past six weeks.
The Philippine Red Cross has been working closely with local disaster authorities to support pre-emptive evacuations. More than 125,000 families were evacuated to safer shelter ahead of Haiyan’s landfall. Red Cross volunteers and staff disseminated early warning messages and safety tips through the network of Red Cross branches in areas along the typhoon’s path. Emergency responders and volunteers have been mobilized to support rescue efforts. Food and other relief items have been prepositioned throughout the Philippines.
Additional specialized Red Cross personnel are currently on standby in Cebu City and will be deployed to the hardest hit areas as soon as safety conditions allow and flights and sea vessels resume operations.
At this time family linking inquiries for missing loved ones in relation to the recent disasters in the Philippines are being accepted.
Inquiries will be accepted that meet the following criteria:
Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747. Please remember that this phone number is frequently busy during the first days of a large disaster.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.