As typhoon “Ulysses” (international name: Vamco) pounded across the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) continued to stay on the ground to provide immediate support if needed.
The PRC has been monitoring communities through volunteers who send situation updates regularly. Volunteers and other staff have been on standby for any immediate response.
In particular, the PH Red Cross has been providing assistance during the pre-emptive evacuation of residents from Rodriguez, Rizal as “Ulysses” poured heavy rains and strong winds all over the country.
The PRC has also been continuously conducting rescue operations in Marikina and Rizal due to the flooding caused by “Ulysses.” The volunteers and staff remain in flood-affected areas assisting people and bringing them to safety through rescue vehicles and rubber boats.
Other PRC chapters are currently monitoring their respective areas of responsibility for quick response.
“It’s critical to quickly begin rebuilding and help people recover after a devastating typhoon, but these non-stop storms are slamming our communities during a deadly pandemic, making this one of the most complicated disaster responses ever,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon.
“We have mobilized all our available resources to meet this new challenge, supporting communities that are getting back on their feet after being hit hard by multiple storms on top of the relentless physical, emotional and economic toll of COVID-19,” Gordon added.
“Ulysses” hit the country only 10 days after super typhoon “Rolly” (international name: Goni) devastated communities in Bicol. PRC said that “Ulysses,” which hit central Luzon, is also affecting hundreds after dumping heavy rain on more than 1.6 million people already severely affected by last week’s super typhoon.
The Red Cross holds particularly grave concerns for more than 240,000 people who lost their homes to “Rolly,” especially those who are living in makeshift shelters along the coast as this latest storm hits.
Compounding the situation, local government emergency funds have been depleted by the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Philippine Red Cross teams are working on two fronts: providing emergency shelter, food, clean water, and essential household items to displaced families, while also helping communities evacuate and prepare for this latest typhoon.
Meanwhile, the IFRC launched a preliminary Emergency Appeal for 3.5 million Swiss Francs in the hours after “Rolly” hit. That helped to save lives, but it has become apparent the Red Cross will need to increase its request for support.
“It’s heartbreaking to see a population, already in the grip of the COVID pandemic, facing another severe storm, the sixth to hit the Philippines in the past five weeks,” IFRC Philippine Country Office Head Robert Kaufman said.
Kaufman added that every woman, man, and child in this devastated region is facing hardship and increased risks, “we cannot leave them to face these challenges alone.” He also expressed hope that the emergency appeal in support of the PRC will be “substantially increased to ensure people are protected.”