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Oxfam monitoring Super Typhoon Mangkhut bearing down on Philippines

Oxfam and partner staff in the Philippines are preparing to respond to Super Typhoon Mangkhut as it barrels towards the north of the country.

Known locally as Ompong, the super typhoon is predicted to make landfall in north of the main island of Luzon on Saturday morning and is packing devastating winds gusts up to 250 km/h, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The state weather bureau also reported that this could be the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year.

Oxfam in the Philippines Country Director, Maria Rosario Felizco, said the organisation was concerned by UN estimates that 1.9 million people lived in the predicted path of this dangerous storm.

“Super Typhoon Mangkhut is bringing very destructive winds and torrential rainfall, and it could cause storm surges and flash flooding in northern Philippines,” Ms Felizco said.

“We are also concerned about the potential for landslides, due to the mountainous terrain in northern Luzon, and flooding from the expected heavy torrential rain.”

Oxfam has strong response capacity in The Philippines with a team of experienced responders on the ground, and strong relationships with partner organisations.

Oxfam has expertise in water supply, sanitation and hygiene, cash programming, emergency food security and livelihoods, and gender and protection.

“If Super Typhoon Mangkhut maintains its current intensity and hits the northern Philippines, the consequences could be devastating,” Ms Felizco said.

“We and our partners are on high alert and ready to respond if needed.”

The Philippine Government considers Super Typhoon Mangkhut to be highly threatening and has said a request for international assistance might be considered, depending on landfall and impact.

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