Photos by Joonas Brandt, Finnish Red Cross

On 30 October 2018, Typhoon Yutu (locally known as Rosita), descended in the Philippines, bringing damaging winds and heavy rain in areas already affected by Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck Northern Luzon and destroyed thousands of homes, crops and infrastructure just over a month ago.  Fortunately the typhoon weakened before it made landfall over the municipality of Dinapigue in Isabela, yet it still caused damages to houses and other property, downed power lines along the main roads and cut access to coastal communities in the province, which remain isolated for assessments and early response as of late on 30 October.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is working closely with the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on emergency response measures in areas where Typhoon Yutu hit hardest, with water, search and rescue, and providing services (hot meals, welfare desks) for families currently seeking shelter inside evacuation centres. The Red Cross is closely coordinating with local government units and disaster agencies to ensure smooth and efficient response to the inevitable humanitarian needs that the typhoon will bring.

Typhoon Yutu is the 18th weather disturbance and the second-strongest typhoon in the Philippines this year. Tens of thousands of families who have already been forced from their homes several times by this year’s flooding as well farmers who have been brought to their knees by the last month’s typhoon Mangkhut are looking anxiously to what Typhoon Yutu will bring them.

Many roads and overflow bridges are still not passable, while moderate to heavy rains continue in Northern, Central Luzon and Metro Manila. Storm signals are still up in 26 areas in Luzon, with emphasis given to alerting residents in high risk and low-lying areas and helping families in flooded areas evacuate.

Many families, like 34-year-old Fidel Corpus’, lost their homes to the strong winds brought by the typhoon. Now there is only a pile of rubble left of what used to their home in the middle of a rice field.  All their belongings are gone, even kitchen utensils. But the only important thing is that he and his mother are alive.

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In the city of Santiago, Philippine Red Cross volunteer driver Gilbert de la Cruz, 33, surveys the destroyed roof of his family’s home. The fierce winds brought by the typhoon tore it off and the accompanying extreme rains destroyed all their furniture and other belongings.

Philippine Red Cross emergency response teams, chapter staff, community health volunteers and Red Cross 143 volunteers in Luzon chapters were placed on high alert with water, search and rescue teams,  sanitation and hygiene and health units and other equipment prepared for dispatch or deployment. Volunteers and staff are monitoring the movements of the typhoon, contacting villages for damage updates and preparing to assist as needed.