Initially a tropical storm, Melor (locally named Nona) has intensified into a typhoon yesterday, according to state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). It has maximum sustained winds of 150 km/hr at its centre, with gusts of up to 185 kph.
It made landfall on Monday (December 14) afternoon over Northern Samar.
Dennis O’Brien, Plan International Philippines Country Director said: “We are closely monitoring the path of the typhoon and have pre-positioned stocks such as hygiene kits, water, and temporary shelter kits in case these are needed.”
“One of our main concerns is ensuring that children, as the most vulnerable to harm in times of disasters, and all those who might be affected, will have access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene kits to help prevent the spread of disease,” he added.
Plan International is continuously coordinating with the Emergency Response and Preparedness Working Group under the Philippines’ Humanitarian Country Team.
As of this posting, Plan International Philippines staff in Samar, Masbate, and Mindoro are on standby for assessment if needed.
“Aside from the staff who are on the ground with their respective families, we also ask our partner communities, to be ready to evacuate if instructed to do so by their local Disaster Management Committees,” said Lolita Arellano, Programme Unit Manager of Plan International Philippines in Eastern Samar.
Plan International Philippines works in over 400 villages within 30 municipalities in the provinces of Masbate, Occidental Mindoro, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, and Southern Leyte.
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, experiencing an average of 20 typhoons per year.
Most recently, Plan International responded to Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which claimed the lives of more than 6,200 people and affected more than 14 million. Plan International also responded to Typhoon Lando in October 2015, the Bohol earthquake in 2013, Typhoon Bopha in 2012, Typhoon Washi in 2011, and provided relief to families affected by the ongoing conflict in Mindanao.
Dennis O’Brien (Manila) and Lolita Arellano (Borongan, Eastern Samar) are available for interviews by phone or skype.