After typhoon Sarika struck the Philippines on Saturday 15th October, affecting more than 8,000 people, leading to the displacement of thousands, and causing serious flooding, the country is now preparing for the arrival of typhoon Haima, set to hit on Wednesday 19th to Thursday 20th October.
Having formed over the Pacific Ocean, the typhoon has rapidly intensified with winds of up to 128 kph, and could reach category 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale as it passes over the north of the Philippines, potentially affecting thousands of people.
Handicap International has been working in the Philippines for over 30 years and its teams are on standby, ready to provide assistance to the most vulnerable people in the event of a disaster. Assessment missions will be carried out after the hurricane hits to identify the worst-affected areas and populations.
“When a typhoon hits, the strong winds either partially or entirely destroy people's homes," explains Eric Weerts, rehabilitation and emergency response expert for Handicap International.
“Metal roofs are blown off, stones fall, houses and infrastructure are destroyed, with the risk of causing serious injury to the local population, in particular in urban areas with a high population density."
Handicap International has extensive experience of supporting populations affected by natural disasters in the Philippines. The organization has been working alongside local communities and authorities to implement disaster preparedness measures to ensure the most vulnerable populations, in particular people with disabilities, are properly taken into account.
Over the last two weeks Handicap International's emergency teams have been active in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, following the recent hurricane. The organization also delivered a major operation in the Philippines in the wake of typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which affected 14 million people and left 6,000 people dead.