For the most recent updates, please see our blog post: Super Typhoon Haiyan Updates
Super Typhoon Haiyan, or Super Typhoon Yolanda as it is referred to in the Philippines, was nearing landfall on the Philippines Thursday evening, packing winds up to 195 mph and threatening many in the central and eastern regions including Heifer International project participants in Visayas and Mindanao. The storm, one of the strongest ever seen, was causing evacuations of thousands in coastal, low-lying and mountainous areas alike.
Haiyan is the second exceptionally strong typhoon to threaten the island nation in less than a year. Typhoon Bopha, the equivalent to a category 5 hurricane, hit Mindanao in December of 2012 and decimated croplands, stripped hillsides of forests and left thousands homeless or with severe damage to their homes.
According to Herc Paradiang, Heifer International's country director for the Philippines, country staff alerted all project partners and self-help group leaders of the typhoon. They were working to establish communication lines that they would be continually updated as to the storm's damage. Paradiang said this will help inform those who have had Community-Managed Disaster Risk Reduction training to put their plans in place. For those communities who have not yet received the training, the communication lines will help them understand what measures to take to secure items needed after such a storm, he said.
Typhoon Haiyan was expected to make landfall on Guiuan, then traverse the provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Northern tip of Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Semirara Island, Southern part of Mindoro then Busuanga and will exit the Philippine landmass (Saturday morning) towards the West Philippine Sea. Rainfall amounts were estimated at an inch or more per hour. Track the storm.
While the typhoon is expected to affect a wide swath of the island, Heifer is concerned about 11 current and former project sites. Those sites are Leyte, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Surigao Del Norte, Surigao Del Sur, Agusan Del Norte, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Negros Oriental and Agusan del Sur.
Agusan del Sur was badly damaged by Bopha. In last year's storm, nearly 400 families involved in Heifer proejcts lost all or part of their homes and many lost livestock. More than 250 pigos and 90 goats died in the storm, and families saw more than 1,000 acres of rice, corn and banana lands ruined. The damage from Bopha to our projects was estimated at about $550,000.
Read how Heifer helped mobilized both relief and long-term efforts to help residents there rebuild after Bopha. You can also donate to our Disaster Rehabilitation Fund, which is set up for precisely these kinds of situations.
About Heifer International
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 40 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 1-800-696-1918. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter @heifer and read about our work at our blog.