Red Cross responds as typhoon Morakot cuts across East Asia

Red Cross responds as typhoon Morakot cuts across East Asia
10 August 2009

Typhoon Morakot has made landfall on China’s south east coast having cut a swathe of destruction across the northern Philippines and Taiwan. The most severe storm to have hit China’s coast this year, Morakot arrived in Fujian Province on 9 August with wind speeds exceeding 100 miles an hour.

In Fujian the Red Cross Society of China is distributing emergency supplies to 5,000 families. Relief items such as towels, flip-flops, cutlery and hygiene kits are badly needed by the thousands of people who have been given temporary shelter in municipal buildings. In neighbouring Zhejiang province, where at least one child was reported killed in a collapsed house, the Red Cross is working to provide similar support to families in need.

Early warning by SMS

The low loss of life in China was largely thanks to good preparedness measures taken well ahead of the advancing typhoon. Close to a million people in the two provinces were evacuated by local authorities – supported by the Red Cross. Among other measures, eight million SMS messages were sent as part of the early warning system.

“There is very good contingency planning in place, especially in the more urban areas, but the weaknesses remain in more rural areas, where protecting communities is a challenge in the face of such threats as landslides,” says Qinghui Gu, IFRC East Asian Regional Disaster Management Coordinator. Read full article.