Typhoon Mangkhut, which slammed into the Philippines on Saturday, was the world’s strongest storm this year.
Its winds reached a staggering 165 miles per hour. That’s 75 miles per hour stronger than Hurricane Florence, which hit the US on the same day.
At 168 miles across, this massive storm covered an area roughly equal to the distance between London and Stoke-on-Trent.
The human impact has been equally huge.
Reports are still coming in but we already know that at least 64 people sadly lost their lives.
Over 154,000 people had to leave their homes because of risk of flooding and damage from the strong winds.
That’s more than all of the people who live in the UK city of York.
Nearly 140,000 people are staying in evacuation centres and almost 35,000 schools have had to stop classes.
There are reports of flooding in 106 locations, with water reaching six feet in some places.
Floods have caused landslides in several places and the Philippine government declared a ‘State of Calamity’ in six areas.
Hot meals for families taking refuge
The Philippine Red Cross relied on its 30,000 volunteers in the area to spring into action two days before Typhoon Mangkhut first made landfall.
A Red Cross ‘humanitarian caravan’ travelled to the areas the storm would reach.
A hot meal van, water tanker and trucks carrying 2,000 items such as hygiene essentials including soap and toothbrushes, blankets and, water buckets and blankets were the first to set off.
Its two teams then quickly decided what would be needed and then sent equipment and supplies.
Three cargo trucks followed on Friday afternoon with mobile kitchens for cooking hot meals and a water tanker.
Nearly 4,000 people have now been served hot meals. The Red Cross also provided biscuits and bottled water to tide people over.
The fear and damage caused by such a huge storm also takes a psychological toll so specialists gave emotional support to 620 people.
At the height of the storm, the Red Cross rescued an ambulance crew after it was hit by a falling electricity pole.
After freeing people from the wrecked ambulance, they gave them first aid and took them safely to hospital.
Mangkhut reaches Hong Kong and China
Over the weekend, the typhoon hit Hong Kong and mainland China.
More than 2.5 million people had to leave their homes in China and damage in Hong Kong has been very serious.
As a global Movement, the Red Cross has helped in every country hit by the superstorm. In Hong Kong, volunteers helped older people to prepare for the storm and delivered emergency supplies to shelters.
In Macau, south of China, the Red Cross set up four aid centres in the hardest hit areas. They gave people brooms, rubbish bags, gloves and supplies to help with the typhoon clean up.
Looking to the future
Over 665,800 people were affected by Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines, especially farmers and fishing communities, who have lost their businesses. That’s more than the number of people who live in the city of Bristol.
Northern Luzon, the areas where Typhoon Mangkhut hit, is a major farming area.
As the floods recede, the Philippine Red Cross will assess what crops have been damaged or destroyed. They can then support people who need help to get their farms up and running again.
This will help to prevent both future hunger and economic problems for people who lost a season’s income.
When a typhoon, hurricane or earthquake strikes, we need to respond immediately. Donate to the British Red Cross Disaster Fund to ensure we can reach people quickly in future crises.
Please give today so we can be there wherever and whenever we are needed.