Five days after Typhoon Bopha made landfall on the Philippines’ southern Mindanao Island, a weakened storm hit the northwestern Philippines’ on Sunday. With winds stronger than those seen from Hurricane Sandy, Bopha has left more than 180,000 people on the southern Mindanao Island without food, water and other basic supplies.
Storm alerts were issued for northern provinces on the main island of Luzon as Bopha changed course towards land after heading to the South China Sea, with reduced wind speed of 35 mph (55 kph) at its center. A state of national emergency was declared on Sunday by President Benigno Aquino, allowing local governments in typhoon-hit areas to access funds for relief operations. Over 370,000 people are currently in temporary shelter areas, with no food and other basic supplies.
“We’re hungry. We don’t have relief goods. Have mercy on us”, said Monching, son of farmer Cresencia Blanco. They and their neighbors around Osmena town in Compostela Valley had lost their homes and crops.
“Since the typhoon struck, we only got a total of four kilos of rice, that’s all,” said Cresencia. “They are focused on New Bataan,” she added, referring to another town in the valley.
UN spokeswoman Imogen Wall said that the UN aid assessment team found 100 percent destruction upon its arrival in Mindanao. “This is a very poor area where everyone is dependent on agriculture. If people can’t earn money from crops they won’t be able to put food on the table for their families,” she warned.
According to humanitarian agencies, some 5.4 million people urgently need food, water and shelter, after Bopha wiped out 90 percent of houses in the Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. The United States had offered to send transport planes and helicopters to help bring supplies to remote and cut-off areas.