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Super Typhoon Haiyan Batters the Philippines

People in poor, remote villages could take the brunt of huge typhoon Haiyan as it hits the Philippines, fears international development organization Plan International. With sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts as strong as 235 mph, Haiyan may be the strongest tropical storm to hit land anywhere in recorded history.

Country Director of Plan Philippines, Carin van der Hor, says: “There is almost nowhere to go because the storm is 375 miles in diameter. We're mostly worried about people in more remote areas. We think that people in the town centers are pretty well-prepared because the information has reached them. There are always going to be pockets of very poor, very remote villages that either may not have been reached in time or where people simply have not wanted to evacuate.

“Children are always badly affected by disasters like this; some will lose their lives, or lose parents, siblings, and extended families. Everything that is familiar and safe is disrupted or destroyed, including homes, schooling, and family livelihoods. Some of these children will witness things no child should have to see."

All of Plan Philippines’ program units, home to approximately 40,000 sponsored children, are likely to be affected. Plan emergency teams are on the ground and responding to the needs of affected children and families.

Emergency response staff is particularly concerned about the impact of flash floods, major landslides, and storm surges. There have been pre-emptive evacuations carried out as early as Wednesday in areas where Plan works—North Samar, West Samar, North Samar, South Leyte, Masbate, and Occidental Mindoro.

Plan has prepositioned 4,000 water kits and 4,000 pieces of plastic sheeting so if roads become impassable items can be quickly distributed by the community to those in need of water and shelter. These can serve approximately 20,000 people. In addition, there are similar numbers of kits in reserve for further distributions.

Haiyan could be even more devastating than Typhoon Bopha, which lashed the Philippines in 2012, killing at least 1,146 people and leaving more than 1 billion dollars worth of damage. On average, 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, with two or three of them devastating. Haiyan is the 25th storm to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this year and is the most powerful.

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