As the world prepares to celebrate the Christmas holiday, hundreds of thousands of families in the Philippines are desperately in need of shelter, food, and water after Super Typhoon Rai (known locally as Odette) devastated parts of the country on December 16.
As of this writing, more than 300,000 families are struggling to recover from the severe storm, with thousands left homeless as the death toll continues to rise.
"Families are waking up to the devastating reality of being homeless with no way to feed their children or provide clean water," says Tamara Demuria, our Chief Humanitarian Officer.
While the Philippines experiences an average of about 20 storms and typhoons per year, super typhoons – defined as typhoons with winds of at least 120 miles per hour, equivalent to a category 5 hurricane – are rare and devastating.
"This is not something we see regularly," Demuria continued. "The aftermath is beyond anything we could imagine, and it will take all our efforts to reach families in need – especially women and children."
Our staff in the Philippines report that the storm flattened whole communities. While thousands have made their way to crowded shelters, others are exposed to the elements. Access to water, shelter, and food are among the direst needs.