Red Cross concerned as humanitarian needs escalate in the Philippines - More than five million people affected by Typhoon Bopha

OTTAWA, Dec. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - The Red Cross is raising the alarm as the need for humanitarian relief in the Philippines is growing more acute following Typhoon Bopha. Ongoing assessments show that 5.4 million people were affected by the disaster, which began December 4, a sharp increase from the initial reports of 300,000 people in need.

"Rapid response to an emergency is vital," says Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "As the scale of this disaster continues to grow the Red Cross is mobilizing local and global resources to meet the growing needs of affected communities."

Typhoon Bopha killed nearly 650 people and injured nearly 1,500 in the Philippines, and 780 people are still missing. Initial reports indicate that the storm damaged or destroyed nearly 71,000 homes, and more than 300,000 people are currently sheltering in and around 172 evacuation centres. Flash flooding, landslides and road blockages continue to hamper relief efforts, and have slowed the flow of information from affected communities.

The Red Cross has provided hot meals to more than 15,000 people in evacuation centres, safe drinking water to 14,500 people, and food and non-food relief items such as water storage containers to 25,000 people. Additional relief items, including hygiene kits and other non-food items, are being distributed, and relief distributions will intensify as supplies reach the most affected areas.

The Canadian Red Cross has already responded by sending an emergency shelter expert, and has additional emergency personnel and resources on standby if needed.

Last week the Canadian International Development Agency announced a $250,000 contribution to support the Red Cross response to this emergency.

"We are extremely grateful to the Government of Canada and Canadian donors for their generous support of Red Cross relief efforts in the Philippines," adds Sauvé. "But needs remain great and more help is needed."

Canadians wishing to support Red Cross relief efforts in the Philippines can donate to the Philippines Typhoon Fund of the Canadian Red Cross at www.redcross.ca, by phone at 1-800-418-1111, or at their local Red Cross office. Funds will be used to support programming in communities where help is most needed across the country.


SOURCE: CANADIAN RED CROSS

For further information:

Please contact:
Canadian Red Cross Media Line
(613) 740-1994