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Oxfam rapid assessment teams have been deployed to survey the immediate needs of evacuees forced to flee tropical storm Hagupit, to ensure those who have lost their homes don’t lose their health as well.
Working in with the International Organization for Migration in coordination with local government units, Oxfam today began visits to 20 of the 56 evacuations centers in the city of Tacloban, focusing on the need for clean water and sanitation.
Country Director of Oxfam in the Philippines Justin Morgan said while many people had been able to return to undamaged homes, those not so fortunate remained vulnerable to further risks.
“The successful evacuation of residents by communities and the government has saved lives. For those families not able to immediately return back home, they must be able to remain with dignity within evacuation centers, with the provision of food, water and sanitation facilities as well as privacy,” Morgan said.
“Oxfam visited the areas where we work in Barangay 88, 89 and 90 in Tacloban and we’ve found many houses have suffered damage. There is a need to replace shelter materials so the population can make rapid repairs,” Morgan said.
The international aid agency has teams with expertise in water, health and sanitation, gender, protection and livelihoods on standby for further deployments. State weather agency PAGASA downgraded Hagupit’s classification from typhoon to tropical storm today as it weakened on its course to Luzon, but with heavy rain still predicted, the risk of flooding remains.
“Oxfam is ready and willing to work with government and other humanitarian partners in ensuring the safety and dignity of any communities affected by Hagupit,” Morgan said.