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Heifer International staff in the Philippines is reported to be okay a day after Super Typhoon Megi struck the country. Country Director Hercules Paradiang reports the roof of one staff member’s house had to be repaired, but that all team members are accounted for in the wake of the worst storm the country has seen in years.

Super Typhoon Megi, which struck the Philippines on Monday, packed sustained winds of 140 miles per hour and gusts of 162 mph, felling trees and utility poles and cutting off power, phone and Internet services in many areas.

Information remains sketchy due to ongoing weather, Paradiang said, adding the country’s Office of Civil Defense is working toward a full damage assessment, but because of thick clouds, heavy rains and high winds, progress is moving slowly.

According to staff reports from the north, at least 103 Heifer partner families lost their house’s roofs and harvestable crops (rice and vegetables) were destroyed by the storm. Communication services in some areas are still down, so a full reporting isn’t possible at this time, but there are reports that in the Palanan area, where Heifer works, 90 percent of houses were lost or damaged, displacing more than 11,000 people. Additionally, the national food authority warehouse was damaged, leaving 4,000 bags of rice—of 6,000 in storage—unfit for consumption.

Initial reports of basic needs in the storm’s wake in the Philippines include food, clothes and water.

Forecasters predict Super Typhoon Megi will move toward Vietnam and China. Vietnam has already seen huge floods, which killed around 30 people. In China, Hainan has already been hit with huge rains, and Chinese officials have moved more than 140,000 people living along the coastal area to prevent high number of deaths.

Heifer International continues to communicate with staff in the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia to determine the safety and status of Heifer projects, staff and the families with whom we work. Updates will continue to be provided as they become available.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the people of the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, China and all in the path of or affected by the storm.

[Image from Naval Maritime Forecast Center/Joint Typhoon Warning Center]

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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.