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SOS families and staff safe as Typhoon Haiyan hits Philippines

Scalvaging materials from ruins © REUTERS/Erik de Castro
Scalvaging materials from ruins © REUTERS/Erik de Castro

The Philippines is currently in the grip of one of the worst storms ever recorded, Typhoon Haiyan.

Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) is currently passing through the central Philippines, where it made landfall in the eastern city of Guiuan at roughly 4.40am local time. With sustained winds peaking at 195mph and storm waves approaching 20 feet in height, some experts say that Haiyan could be the most powerful storm ever to strike land.

Meteorologist Dr Jeff Masters said Guiuan may have sustained "the greatest wind damage any city of Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century."

So far, the category-5 super-typhoon has brushed the northern tip of Cebu province, before blasting over Boracay island. Entire buildings have been destroyed in the islands of Leyte and Samar, the worst-hit areas at the time of writing.

Three people have been killed in the storm, and millions more forced from their homes across 20 provinces in the Philippines.

SOS families and staff safe

Our Children's Villages in Tacloban and Calbayog both lie in the region affected so far. As of 10am this morning, all SOS families were reported safe in both locations, despite flooding and damage to buildings in the surrounding area. In Calbayog, we are providing shelter to 33 families from the local community in our vocational training centre as they wait for the storm to pass.

The typhoon is currently approaching our Children's Village in Cebu, the country's second-largest city. While torrential rain and powerful winds are battering the city, all families are safe and well inside the Children's Village. Our Village in Iloilo, towards the west of the archipelago, is experiencing moderate rain.

Though all children are safe, school classes are suspended across the country as a precaution. Our National Office in Ayala Alabang, on the outskirts of the capital Manila, remains open, though on alert. The typhoon is not expected to reach Manila.

Typhoon Haiyan is expected to weaken once it passes over the Philippines. However, experts say it could remain a damaging storm as it makes landfall in Vietnam and Laos over the weekend.

We will bring you further updates as news comes in.

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