Islamic Relief is on the ground in the Philippines, providing much-needed aid to families affected by the most powerful storm to hit the country this year.

One million people fled Hagupit – which means ‘lash’ in Tagalog – many of whom are from areas left devastated by Typhoon Haiyan little over a year ago.

The storm, known locally as Typhoon Ruby, has seen gusts of up to 130 mph and storm surges. Homes have been destroyed and power supplies cut across the country’s central east coast.

Reaching affected communities

A scene of devastation in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar.

A scene of devastation in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar.

Islamic Relief assisted local government during the evacuation of Leyte and Cebu areas, providing support with transport, staff and volunteers. We are currently assessing the needs in around 15 municipalities within Samar, Biliran, Leyte and Cebu, in coordination with UN and other humanitarian agencies.

We are operating in affected areas on the main island and Bantayan island of northern Cebu, Leyte province, as well as Leyte and Samar. We are in contact with our partners present in Bicol and Samar regions including Masbate province. Islamic Relief also has a team in Tacloban city, where we are coordinating our disaster response with the UN and other humanitarian actors.

Although the scale of the devastation is yet to emerge, it is currently thought that our emergency response will help around 5,000 affected families. Tents, food, water, as well as household and hygiene kits are expected to be distributed.

The tropical storm has now decreased in intensity but is expected to continue to affect island communities for the next few days.

Islamic Relief began working in the Philippines in 2013, as one of the first international agencies providing life-saving aid to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. We continue our work in the disaster-prone country, with a focus on helping shattered communities to rebuild and better protect themselves from disasters.