The Philippines threatened by typhoon Haima
Typhoon Haima is forecast to hit the Philippines on Wednesday 19 -Thursday 20 October , affecting thousands of people. Handicap International's teams are preparing to cope with the potential disaster.
Archive image of the typhoon Haiyan | © B. Blondel/Handicap International
After typhoon Sarika struck the country on Saturday 15 October, impacting more than 8,000 people, leading to the displacement of thousands, and causing serious flooding, the Philippines are now preparing to face the arrival of typhoon Haima, set to hit on Wednesday 19 -Thursday 20 October. Having formed over the Pacific Ocean, the typhoon has rapidly intensified with winds of up to 128 kmph, 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 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 the populations affected by natural disasters in the Philippines. The organisation has been working alongside the local communities and authorities to implement disaster preparedness campaigns to ensure the most vulnerable populations, in particular people with disabilities, are properly taken into account.
Over the last two weeks their emergency response teams have been active in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, following the recent hurricane. The organisation also ran a major operation in the wake of typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which affected 14 million people and left 6,000 people dead.