The Philippine archipelago is facing the most violent typhoon in its history. Because of damaged telecommunications lines and difficulties in gaining access to the victims, it is still hard to measure the extent of the damage. According to figures released by the Philippine National Red Cross Society, Typhoon Haiyan has claimed more than 1,200 lives and affected more than 4 million people in 36 provinces. The Philippine authorities have mounted an emergency response that includes 15,000 military personnel.
Following the Philippine government’s acceptance of international aid, Swiss Humanitarian Aid will dispatch five Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit experts, who are scheduled to leave Switzerland for the Philippines on Saturday evening, 9 November. They will be joined by three other experts who are already on the ground. The team is comprised of experts specialising in medicine, water and sanitation, emergency shelter and logistics. With the support of the Swiss embassy in Manila, they will be tasked with assessing the needs of the populations affected by the typhoon and to put in place Swiss emergency aid in close coordination with national and international actors.
To date, the Swiss embassy in Manila has received no information on deaths or injured among Swiss nationals in the Philippines. The Swiss embassy is making every effort to contact Swiss nationals in areas affected by the typhoon. But damaged communication lines are seriously hampering efforts to reach them.
The SDC has already intervened following previous natural disasters in the Philippines, by contributing emergency aid and reconstruction assistance broadly defined. Swiss Humanitarian Aid is closely monitoring the typhoon’s expected landfall in Vietnam and its potential consequences.
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