Typhoon Noru batters Philippines as people evacuate to safety

By International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Typhoon Noru batters Philippines as people evacuate to safety

People in the northern Philippines are scrambling to safe areas and evacuation centers as Super Typhoon Noru (locally named Karding) begins to batter thousands of cities, homes, and infrastructure. The typhoon, which hit maximum wind speeds of 260km per hour made landfall at the Polillio islands, northeastern Philippines.

Philippine Red Cross teams are on the ground, mobilized to assist and evacuate people to safety. Typhoon Noru will be the strongest storm hitting the country this year and it is as intense and destructive as last year’s Super Typhoon Rai which wrecked 1.5 million houses in December.

Richard Gordon, Philippine Red Cross Chairman said: “This storm is the strongest one yet this year to hit us. It is critical that we move everyone to safety right now as this Typhoon is set to cause devastation in all of Central Luzon, including our capital, Manila. Our volunteers are on full stand-by mode working with authorities to move people to evacuation centers with all their necessities. We also pre-positioning emergency relief, hot meals, and medical supplies in anticipation. Our water tankers for drinking water and payloaders to quickly clear off debris, mud, and fallen trees and make roads accessible to reach communities are also in place. We are advising people to charge their phones, pack food, and grab their important belongings. There is no telling of the extent of the disruptions.”

The eastern seaboard Luzon island, (facing the Pacific Ocean) is already being hit with strong winds and heavy rains. Hundreds of people in ports are left stranded as air and sea operations halt. The island is the country’s largest and most populated island.

Alberto Bocanegra, IFRC Head of Philippine Country Office said: “We have learned from responding to last year’s strongest typhoon, Rai. We believe we are continuing to adapt our emergency responses and are prepared to handle the intensity of this storm. These weather-related events are intensifying and becoming more frequent. The super storm that hit the south-eastern Philippines was a mere ten months ago, and the people affected are barely picking up the pieces. We must be effective and quick to adapt no matter how bad the situation will be“.

IFRC is working closely with the Philippines Red Cross and helping with relief and providing support.  Philippines is hit with torrential rains, strong winds, floods, and tropical storms multiple times a year.