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International Medical Corps Teams on Standby as Typhoon Haiyan Batters Philippines

by Margaret Aguirre, Director of Global Communications | International Medical Corps - USA
Friday, 8 November 2013 20:48 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

November 8, 2013 - Los Angeles, Calif. – Super Typhoon Haiyan – which experts say is potentially the strongest storm ever to make landfall – is currently battering the Philippines, flooding villages and leaving widespread devastation.

International Medical Corps emergency teams are closely monitoring the storm, coordinating with partners and prepositioning supplies for a potential response.

The super typhoon, which made landfall early Friday local time, has winds as high as 195 mph, and is equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.Haiyan roared onto the country's eastern island of Samar in the early morning hours, flooding streets and knocking out power and communications in many areas. The storm is moving east across five other Philippine islands.

Nearly 750,000 fled to evacuation centers in anticipation of the storm. As Haiyan left hard-hit areas completely isolated without phone service or electricity, experts predict that the death toll – currently at three - will soar once relief workers are able to assess conditions. Many areas in the path of the storm are still recovering from a recent 7.1 earthquake that hit the region on October 15, both increasing the risk of casualties and worsening potential destruction. The recent earthquake had already stretched national emergency response teams, leaving the potential for a large-scale humanitarian crisis.

International Medical Corps has been a first-responder to numerous natural disasters in southeast Asia, including Cyclone Phailin in India in October, the tsunami in Japan two years ago, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster, and disease, by delivering vital health care services and sustainable development projects that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning hardest-hit populations to self-reliance. For more information visit:  www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also see us Facebook and follow us on Twitter.