Latest update: 12.15pm 03/10/2009
World Vision is coordinating with government officials to evacuate people in anticipation of what is known as “Super Typhoon Parma,” carrying sustained winds exceeding 200kmph and threatening to be more destructive than 26 September’s Typhoon Ketsana.
Parma is currently classified as a Category 5 typhoon, the highest and most destructive rating. It is on par with Hurricane Katrina that struck New Orleans in 2005 to such deadly effect.
The Philippines is bracing for the worst as the typhoon is expected to hit landfall 3 October, with the worst of the storm hitting the area midday to early afternoon.
Plans are underway to relocate people to schools, churches, community centres and other secure buildings on higher ground. The region is home to mixed housing, including very vulnerable dwellings made of wood.
People have been strengthening their homes in readiness for the storm and chopping down trees that could blow over.
Ms Fe Olonan, World Vision’s programme manager for the region, said: “we have alerted our programme staff, and they are now closely coordinating with local councils for a synchronized response.” They aim to get people into safe evacuation centres hours before the storm.
World Vision staff are ready to assist with food distributions and the setting up of Child Friendly Spaces should they be needed after the storm has passed.
World Vision staff earlier this year worked with government officials and community leaders in the region on disaster preparedness and management, lessons that will prove invaluable over the coming days. World Vision has also worked with partners to pre-position food supplies.
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has ordered the evacuation of coastal towns in the path of the storm and, in the capital, Manila, thousands have fled their homes for higher ground.
You can read about World Vision's relief efforts in the Philippines here.