On November 1, the world’s strongest typhoon of the year, Super Typhoon Goni, made landfall in the Philippines. One week later, Typhoon Vamco struck. The typhoons have caused loss of life, injuries and destroyed homes and businesses across the country. To add to the devastation, many of the same communities that were heavy-hit by Super Typhoon Goni were re-visited by Typhoon Vamco.
Super Typhoon Goni, (known as Typhoon Rolly in country) and Typhoon Vamco (known as Typhoon Ulysses in country) have affected more than 1.6 million people. In addition, severe flooding is occurring in different provinces throughout the country. Both typhoons come at a time when the Philippines is already suffering from a surge of COVID-19 infections in country. Currently, the Philippines has the largest rate of COVID-19 infections in southeast Asia, second only to Indonesia.
The Philippine Red Cross prepared for the arrival of Typhoons Goni and Vamco by pre-positioning emergency response teams, first aid, hygiene kits and other relief supplies in key areas. Teams helped early on by evacuating people and pets in vulnerable areas to safe evacuation centers. However, destruction from Super Typhoon Goni continues to create an ongoing emergency. Currently, Red Cross utility vehicles are deployed, rescuing and ferrying stranded persons to safety. Relief materials such as food, cooking equipment, tarps, generator sets and tents are being provided to communities in need.
First aid responders and trained volunteers are in the devastated areas working double-time assessing damage, searching for missing persons and providing relief across the most affected communities. On top of the relentless physical, emotional and economic toll of COVID-19, consecutive storms have further disrupted people’s lives and livelihoods. Farmland has been inundated, crops destroyed, and coastal fishing communities have been devastated. This is one of the most complex typhoon relief operations.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon shares what disaster relief in a COVID-19 era looks like: “Right now, our staff and volunteers are where they need to be, supporting search and rescue efforts, providing meals and distributing relief packages to people who have been evacuated or have tragically lost their homes. The pandemic has made this much more complex, but we have been preparing for this situation, training and equipping our teams for a COVID-era response.”
The American Red Cross has a delegation in the Philippines and works with local teams to prepare families for disasters. Right now, American Red Cross personnel are in close contact with local counterparts about damages and needs.
National Media: For photos, b-roll, more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
In USA: American Red Cross media team
In Manila: Maria Francia Noguera,
Mobile: +63 (0) 998 9606 291,