Singapore ready to assist the Philippines when Typhoon Hagupit hits

Residents crowd the entrance of a grocery store in Tacloban City, central Philippines on December 3, 2014, ahead of the landfall of Typhoon Hagupit.

SINGAPORE - Singapore is ready to offer more help to the Philippines as Typhoon Haguput threatens to make landfall there over the next few days.

According to a Ministry of Defence statement today, Permanent Secretary of Defence Mr Chan Yeng Kit called his Philippine counterpart, Undersecretary for National Defence Honorio S. Azcueta today, informing him that the Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre (RHCC) is ready to provide assistance.

Mr Chan said that the Changi RHCC has been monitoring the situation closely, and has placed its personnel and resources on standby to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in coordinating multinational military assistance in response to the disaster.

He added that the Changi RHCC was ready to deploy a needs assessment team of up to 10 officers to the Philippines to assist the Philippine Armed Forces in coordinating military assistance, and providing a comprehensive assessment of the situation in affected areas and enhance information-sharing.

The Changi RHCC was established in September this year to be the main point of contact for regional military-to-military coordination, reported The Straits Times.

It was previously reported that Typhoon Hagupit was approaching eastern coasts of the Philippines on Saturday, and could unleash huge destruction with torrential rain and potentially disastrous storm surges of up to 4.5 metres.

More than half a million residents of low-lying villages and landslide-prone areas have fled to schools, civic centres, town halls, gyms and churches.

In November last year, the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall, which left more than 7,000 dead or missing and more than 4 million homeless or with damaged houses.