23 October 2009
As Tropical Storm Lupit continues to gain strength as it approaches the northern tip of Luzon, families, communities, government agencies and aid agencies are braced for more of nature's fury.
"So many people have already been devastated by the two consecutive storms that hit our country. Another storm at this point would really be disastrous," said Filomena Portales, Advocacy and Communications director of World Vision in the Philippines.
The emotional toll that the storms take is also starting to pile up.
“People are concerned for their families and loved ones and every time a new storm comes, anxiety begins again,” she said.
"We are doubling our efforts now. We have to move fast. Today, teams have already left Manila for Northern Luzon so we can start distributing food aid before the storm makes a landfall. We also have to ensure the safety of our staff who are doing relief work," Portales said.
World Vision has also alerted programmes staff in Cagayan province, just as the state weather bureau warned that four provinces, Cagayan, Apayao, Ilocos Norte and Batanes, will be hardest hit when Lupit makes landfall later this week.
Lupit is believed to be more powerful than Parma. It is packed with maximum winds of 195 kph and gusts of up to 230 kph.
"We are doing our best to prepare for the worst. People living in high risk areas particularly along riverbanks, mountain slopes and coastlines are already doing pre-emptive evacuation," said Wilma Lacaden, a World Vision staff member in Cagayan province.
"The people are still reeling from the impact of the previous typhoon. We are hoping and praying that the typhoon will not hit us or the impact will be minimal," said Lacaden.
To date, many people are still displaced from the previous storms and suffering with serious health conditions.
In efforts to help people rebuild their lives, World Vision is currently implementing a Cash-for-Work project in Metro Manila areas affected by Ketsana. It has also turned over medical equipment and supplies in Cainta to help restore health services.
"The frequent storms are making it very difficult for relief agencies to help rebuild. Another storm, or any calamity in that matter, would be sure to set back their recovery," added Portales.
On 19 October 2009, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake jolted central and southern Luzon areas including Metro Manila.