Philippines - ReliefWeb News
By Holly Frew, Emergency Communications Officer
“We were all terrified that we were about to relive Haiyan. But this time we were prepared, and so was my home,” said Erna Celis, a mother of three whose home was completely destroyed by 2013’s super typhoon Haiyan but was spared by the recent typhoon Hagupit.
Before Haiyan, many people did not prepare. They thought it was just like any other storm they commonly get in the Philippines. But after shockingly claiming more than 6,200 lives and leaving four million homeless, they learned how unpredictable storms can be.
Typhoon Hagupit was different.
As warnings of the typhoon surfaced, many people began preparing days before it was forecast to hit with preparations such as stockpiling food, packing their valuables in plastic, reinforcing their roofs and seeking refuge in evacuation centres.
Good preparation may have saved hundreds of lives and thousands of homes as Typhoon Ruby ripped through the Philippines.
Erna and her family reside in Katipunan, a village just outside Tacloban, and evacuated to a nearby school. As the typhoon crawled through the Philippines, they feared for their lives as the wind howled and battered against the building throughout the night.
“This typhoon was not as strong as Haiyan but it lasted much longer. No one slept at all, as the winds were extremely loud all night long. I was afraid of what I would find left of our village as the sun came up the next morning, but luckily my house was still standing,” Erna shared.
Help Needed in East Samar
But not everyone in the Philippines was as prepared for Hagupit as the people of Katipunan. The island of Samar bore the brunt of the damage from the typhoon. Thousands of homes along the coast were destroyed or partially damaged.
Rizza and Julio Cui were one of the unfortunate families in Eastern Samar who lost their home. They made a living buying and selling fish in the market, but the typhoon has temporarily disrupted the fishing market leaving them with no income.
“I want to rebuild my home, but I’m not sure when and how that will happen since I’m unable to earn any income right now,” said Rizza.
As CARE responds to the damage from Typhoon Hagupit, it is planning to replicate its successful “build back safer” program for vulnerable families like Rizza and Julio, so that, like Erna, they are prepared when the next typhoon strikes.
Typhoon Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, first hit the Philippines Dec. 6, 2014 affecting communities already extremely vulnerable from 2013 super typhoon Haiyan.
Today, after the passing of typhoon Hagupit over the Philippines, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies are relieved to see that it did not cause destruction, injury, and death on the same scale as last year’s typhoon Haiyan.
While many houses have been damaged, a mass evacuation of almost one million people in vulnerable areas before the storm made landfall has shown that preparedness measures save lives. The recovery work of our member agencies in the hardest hit communities, including ‘building back safer’ efforts, is another reason that a worse scenario was averted this time around.
The increased resilience of poor communities was made possible in large part by the generous contributions of Canadians in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan. For this, the Humanitarian Coalition is grateful. CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada have been present in the Philippines for years; working hand in hand with communities in the paths of both typhoon Haiyan (2013) and Hagupit. In addition to ongoing programs, they provided lifesaving assistance in the wake of last year’s crisis, including food, water, shelter, livelihood support and child protection.
The international assistance provided by donor countries such as Canada must also be applauded. The delivery of shelter kits coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (DFATD) allowed Humanitarian Coalition members to help hundreds of families put a roof over their heads.
This week, as Hagupit subsided, assessment teams from our member agencies immediately deployed to identify affected areas and determine needs. The distribution of food and other essential items has begun and more people will be reached as roads are cleared and communication systems are restored.
For more information on the response, please visit our member agencies’ respective websites.
- Hagupit (locally, Ruby) has exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
- Over 2.9 million people have been affected by Hagupit.
- The Philippines Government has not made an official request for assistance.
- Priority areas are food, emergency shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
· Dans les jours précédant le typhon Hagupit le gouvernement philippin a évacué 717 000 personnes. On estime que 133 000 familles ont été relogées dans 1 758 centres répartis dans les 7 régions touchées.
· Action contre la Faim prépare la distribution d’eau et de nourriture, ainsi que l'installation et la construction de points d'eau dans les zones les plus affectées.
"Il semble clair que les mesures de préparation, notamment celle mise en place suite au passage du typhon Haiyan l’année dernière, ont permis de sauver des vies. Les systèmes d’alerte et l’évacuation préventive ont bien évidemment permis de réduire les pertes humaines”, affirme Javad Amoozegar, Directeur d’Action contre la faim aux Philippines. "Nos équipes d'évaluation ont été très rapidement déployées sur le terrain pour mettre en place des distributions de kits d'eau, d'hygiène, et de nourriture. Et maintenant, il est essentiel de restaurer – ou d’installer - les infrastructures d’eau pour éviter au maximum le risque de propagation de maladies et de sous-nutrition.”
Au cours du week-end dernier, au plus fort du typhon, Action contre la Faim a fourni de l’eau potable à 4 centres d’évacuation à Tacloban, venant en aide à plus de 13 000 personnes.
Les équipes d'évaluation déployées dans Eastern Samar et Masbate ont trouvé des arbres abattus, des poteaux électriques au sol, des communications coupées, mais aussi des maisons rasées… On craint donc que les zones les plus touchées ne soient les plus éloignées, zones pour le moment inaccessibles.
“Aujourd’hui, la seule information sur laquelle nous pouvons nous baser à Eastern Samar provient des inspections aériennes du gouvernement Philippin. Elles annoncent une grave destruction de la ville de Dolores, qui pourrait être encore pire dans les villages intérieurs.” confirme Íñigo Ranz logisticien d’Action contre la Faim.
Les stocks de nourriture fournis par les autorités locales sont épuisés depuis mardi 9 décembre. En outre, selon le Département de la Protection Sociale et du Développement, 150 000 personnes ont perdu leurs récoltes à Masbate, ce qui pourrait menacer leur sécurité alimentaire à moyen et long terme. L’heure est à l’identification des zones impactées ainsi qu’à l’évaluation des besoins.
"Les leçons tirées du typhon Haiyan, il ya tout juste un an, nous inquent qu’à cette époque la population touchée a besoin de nourriture, d’eau, de soins de santé, d’accès à l'assainissement et de matériels d'abri d'urgence", a déclaré Javad Amoozegar. "Notre personnel sur le terrain, prêt à agir à tout moment, a une connaissance approfondie du contexte. À ce jour, nous avons travaillé avec plus de 600 000 personnes pour la réhabilitation des zones dévastées par le super typhon Haiyan et nous ferons de même suite au passage de Hagupit ".
Action contre la Faim travaille en étroite collaboration avec le gouvernement et les partenaires locaux, sur les thématiques de l'eau, l'assainissement et l'hygiène, la nutrition et les soins psychosociaux, la sécurité alimentaire, les moyens de subsistance, et la gestion des risques de catastrophe. Elle intervient auprès des personnes les plus vulnérables: familles avec enfant de moins de 5 ans, femmes enceintes et allaitante, personnes malades.
Portes-paroles disponibles pour interviews en France et aux Philippines
Philippines: “La evacuación de más de 700.000 personas y las lecciones aprendidas con Haiyan minimizan los daños”
En los días previos, el gobierno filipino llevó a cabo la evacuación preventiva de 717.000 personas y se estima que 133.000 familias (665.000 personas) han sido alojadas en 1.758 centros de evacuación distribuidos en las siete regiones afectadas
Ante los problemas de acceso a las zonas más afectadas, Acción contra el Hambre prepara la distribución de agua y alimentos, así como la instalación y construcción de puntos de agua
Madrid, 11 de diciembre de 2014 “Parece claro que las medidas de preparación, en particular aquellas experiencias puestas en marcha tras el tifón Haiyan el año pasado, han salvado vidas. Los sistemas de alerta temprana y las evacuaciones preventivas, sin duda han servido para minimizar las pérdidas humanas”, afirma Javad Amoozegar, director de Acción contra el Hambre en Filipinas. “Ahora, tras el despliegue de nuestros equipos de evaluación sobre el terreno, la distribución de kits de agua e higiene, y de comida de emergencia, así como la instalación y restablecimiento de infraestructuras de agua, son fundamentales para reducir la carga de enfermedades prevenibles y la desnutrición”.
Durante el pasado fin de semana, Acción contra el Hambre ha proporcionado agua potable a cuatro centros de evacuación en Tacloban, para más de 13.000 personas. Asimismo, los equipos de evaluación de Acción contra el Hambre desplegados en Eastern Samar y Masbate han encontrado árboles y postes eléctricos caídos, comunicaciones cortadas e incluso casas, hechas de materiales ligeros, arrasadas. Se teme que la mayor carga destructiva se haya producido en las zonas más remotas, ahora inaccesibles debido al bloqueo de los caminos.
El mayor reto, el acceso
“En estos momentos, el mayor reto al que nos enfrentamos es el acceso a las zonas más afectadas, ya que se ha cancelado toda comunicación por mar o aire con Tacloban, Borongan o Masbate. Las carreteras en el norte de Borongan, en Samar, no son transitables y no se puede acceder a toda la parte sureste de la isla de Masbate”, señala Íñigo Ranz, logista de Acción contra el Hambre en la base de Eastern Samar. “Además, nos preocupan especialmente las áreas de Marinduque, Romblon y el norte de Palawan, ya que no se han visto afectados por una tormenta importante en los últimos años.”
“Ahora mismo, la única información con la que contamos obre la situación en Eastern Samar proviene de las inspecciones aéreas del gobierno filipino, que apuntan a una destrucción severa de la ciudad de Dolores, que podría ser aún peor en los barangay interiores”, añade Íñigo Ranz.
Déficit de alimentos básicos
A partir del martes, los paquetes de alimentos entregados por las autoridades locales y municipales se han visto agotados. Asimismo, según el Departamento de Bienestar Social y Desarrollo, 150.000 personas en Masbate han perdido sus cultivos, lo que podría amenazar su seguridad alimentaria a medio y largo plazo.
Acción contra el Hambre, en estrecha colaboración con el gobierno y socios nacionales y locales, está trabajando en materia de agua, saneamiento e higiene, nutrición y cuidados psicosociales, seguridad alimentaria y medios de vida, y gestión del riesgo de desastres, con las familias más vulnerables con hijos menores de cinco años, mujeres embarazadas y lactantes, familias encabezados por mujeres, ancianos y personas con discapacidad o enfermedades crónicas. “Las lecciones que aprendimos con el tifón Haiyan, hace apenas un año, nos indican que en estos momentos la población afectada necesita alimentos, agua potable, cuidados de higiene, saneamiento y materiales de refugio de emergencia”, apunta Javad Amoozegar. “Nuestro personal sobre el terreno, preparado para actuar en todo momento, cuenta con un amplio conocimiento del contexto. Hasta la fecha, venimos trabajando con más de 600.000 personas en la recuperación de Haiyan y así continuaremos haciéndolo tras el paso de Hagupit”.
Acción contra el Hambre es una organización humanitaria internacional e independiente que combate la desnutrición infantil a la vez que garantiza agua y medios de vida seguros a las poblaciones más vulnerables. Intervenimos en más de 45 países apoyando a más de nueve millones de personas. Nuestra visión es un mundo sin desnutrición; nuestro primer objetivo, devolver la dignidad a quienes hoy viven amenazados por el hambre.
Philippines: Philippines: MSF teams reach areas most impacted by typhoon Hagupit and find a population well prepared
Conclude there is no need for an MSF medical intervention
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) teams have reached by helicopter and car those areas most impacted by typhoon Hagupit, in order to evaluate the damage and medical needs of the people affected.
There were fears the typhoon, which has now swept out of the Philippines, would be a repeat of last year’s super-typhoon Haiyan. However, MSF teams assessing the islands of Samar, Masbate and Biliran have found a population well prepared.
“While we knew the severity of the typhoon had weakened, it was still unclear just how badly the people of Samar had been impacted,” MSF Head of Mission in the Philippines, Olivier Aubry, said. “We had no clear information coming out of this area, so it was important that we get access in order to properly assess the medical needs of the people.”
MSF teams in the city of Dolores, which was first hit by the typhoon, found a community that had learned from the devastation of Haiyan, with the entire population evacuated days in advance and food stockpiled in preparation.
The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) had reported only two fatalities in the city, with a further 68 injuries. Some children were reported to be suffering from acute watery diarrhoea and fever. There were also concerns over possible outbreaks of water borne diseases and mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever.
“Typhoon Hagupit hit at category three, so it was not nearly as strong as Haiyan,” said MSF Medical Cordinator Karina Cantizano. “They are worried about outbreaks, but at this stage the local health authorities seems to have clear control of the situation. We will monitor the situation closely and see how it evolves, and remain in close contact with the local health authorities. At this stage there is no need for a medical intervention from MSF.”
Despite the low number of casualties, there was still noticeable damage to infrastructure and housing, with those on the upstream river and islands most affected. The city’s new public hospital - which had yet to be used - also suffered minor damaged during the typhoon. As of Wednesday, the city had no electricity or communications.
It was a similar situation in Arteche and Gamay in north east Samar, and the island of Biliran north of Leyte, with all areas evacuated well in advance of the typhoon. The medical needs were minor, with some reports of upper respiratory infections, fever and cases of diarrhoea. Hospitals and health centres were functioning, and there were mostly only minor damages to buildings and houses. There were no communications in Arteche and Gamay, and water was being sourced by pump.
Meanwhile, another MSF team had reached the island of Masbate yesterday. The team also found evacuations were done days before the typhoon hit, with no casualties and people suffering only minor injuries, such as lacerations, cuts and punctures. There was some damage to houses and buildings. The team will now travel to Samar to assess the North West side, finishing at Catarman.
Given the minor medical needs in the affected areas at this stage, and involvement of the DOH, MSF assessments concluded there is no need for an MSF medical intervention.
Barely one year after Haiyan, Philippine people had to brave the typhoon Hagupit, classified as a category 2 storm, which struck the centre of the archipelago during the evening of 6th to 7th December, putting the houses recently rebuilt by Terre des hommes (Tdh) to the test. Despite their standing up to the storm, there is severe material and environmental damage, weakening the inhabitants further.
The typhoon Hagupit hit the province of East Samar with full force. This is the same region where Terre des hommes has been present for the past year, helping the people recover from the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan.
Our team there is assessing the extent of the damage. Despite the extremely strong gusts of wind and the torrential rain, all the dwellings rebuilt or renovated by the NGO withstood the storm: “Our houses held out”, Leonor Crisostomo, Tdh’s programme coordinator in the Philippines, reported by satellite phone.
Drawing lessons from the super typhoon Haiyan (category 5) that left 7,000 dead in November 2013, the national authorities declared a state of alert and urged the inhabitants of coastal areas to take shelter. According to the government, one million people were evacuated, minimizing the loss of life dramatically. Up to date, only 2 deaths have been reported.
On the other hand, the material damage is severe. Having been to the towns of Dolores and Oras (northern Samar), Leonor Crisostomo confirms the destruction of many houses, roads and bridges. Hectares of earth have been flooded by the massive amount of rain, destroying fields and crops. The livelihood of the local people has once again been badly hit.
“We plan to bring aid to the families affected in the town of San Julian”, says David Dandres, in charge of Tdh’s emergency intervention in the Philippines. He adds: “The assistance is aimed at enabling the families to find the ways and means to rebuild their ruined homes and to replace some of the things they have lost.”
Sources: Tdh, OCHA
More than half of the evacuees returns home as Hagupit exits the Philippines and flooding recede.
788,500 people remain in 3,000 evacuation centres.
Of the total evacuees, three quarters are in Region VIII, central Philippines.
Initial assessments reveal that emergency shelter, food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and logistics are a priority.
The Government plans to release the comprehensive assessment result shortly and hold a coordination meeting with humanitarian partners next week.
2.9 million affected people
788,500 people in evacuation centres
3,003 evacuation centres
8,700 totally damaged houses
39,100 partially damaged housesreported deaths
Typhoon Hagupit (known locally as Ruby) first made landfall in Dolores municipality, Eastern Samar province on 6 December. The typhoon made subsequent landfalls in the provinces of Masbate, Marinduque and Batangas, as it weakened into a tropical storm then tropical depression.
As of 22:00 10 December, the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) advised Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) is outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) (NDRRMC Weather Bulletin 25).
As of 10 December, the typhoon has affected some 641,667 families (2.7 million people) across nine regions. A total of 1.4 million people are being assisted by evacuation centres. (NDRRMC SitRep No.15).
The Government of Philippines activated their response clusters for Typhoon Hagupit. The Office of Civil Defence (OCD) remains, as secretariat of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), in charge of the “inter-pillar coordination”. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is in charge of the response pillar and has deployed coordinators to affected areas. The Government of Philippines has also activated a Logistics Response Cluster under OCD lead and DSWD response pillar.
The Government of the Philippines is leading the humanitarian response and have established their main logistics hub in Cebu. The Government established an Operational Command Centre in Borongan to coordinate the response and supply hubs in Borongan and Catarman.
On 5 December, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator, on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team, offered international assistance. WFP has offered to assist the Government where requested and act as co-lead, supporting the Government with logistics services, coordination & information sharing.
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Clusters have not been activated for this response and coordination and assistance are being provided to the Government led response on a bilateral basis, supplemented with sectorial coordination meetings between partners and information products issued to enhance the response and information sharing.
Field Bulletin No. 10 from the Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda
This morning in Camp Aguinaldo, the National Government Frontline Team and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) conducted a post-disaster assessment of Typhoon Ruby.
Secretary Mar Roxas reported that the situation in Ruby-hit areas has stabilized. In Eastern Samar, all main supply routes are open, including the newly repaired Libas Bridge in the Municipality of San Juan. Law and order has been maintained, and there have been no reports of looting. According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), there have also been no reports of shortages or sudden price hikes. Stores and gas stations have been reopening throughout the province.
Cellular communication was reestablished on Tuesday, with electricity to be restored within 2-3 weeks. Three damaged water pumps have also been scheduled for repair. In the meantime, the Bureau of Fire Protection is delivering water to evacuation centers and towns which do not have access to deep wells. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is continuing to supply food packs, and is currently verifying the number of totally damaged and partially damaged houses. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has also begun the process of assessing damage to government infrastructure. The situation has similarly stabilized in Masbate, with regards to law and order and food supply.
The NDRRMC has been at work coordinating all these frontline efforts. Since relief operations began, it has been continuously gathering information from the ground and is now collecting data for the recovery phase. This includes the figures needed for the establishment of transitional shelters, which are targeted to be completed by the first quarter of 2015.
Moving forward, the NDRRMC will continue to work with volunteers, local governments, and international groups in helping build back better the towns affected by Typhoon Ruby.
December 11, 2014, 3:00 p.m.
Philippines: NDRRMC Update Sitrep No. 85 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano
I. ALERT STATUS OF MAYON VOLCANO
A. Alert Level 3 is still in effect as of 8:00 AM, 11 December 2014. At this present stage, potentially eruptible magma has already been intruded and continues to be intruded beneath the edifice. At any given time in the following weeks to months, this magma can eventually be erupted quietly as lava flows or explosively as vertical eruption columns and pyroclastic flows or both. Mayon Volcano's seismic network detected one (1) volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours
Singapore, 11 December – Singapore’s humanitarian NGO, Mercy Relief (MR) deploys its response team to the Masbate Province today in aid of communities affected by Typhoon Hagupit. MR is responding to a direct request for international assistance from its ground partner Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC). MR will be disbursing its initial tranche of relief assistance worth $30,000 in the Masbate Province. MR will also activate a nationwide public fundraising appeal in Singapore from 11 December 2014 to 31 January 2015. Typhoon Hagupit is the most intense tropical storm in 2014 since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. It made its first landfall in Dolores, in the Eastern Samar Province, on 6 December. It made its second landfall on Sunday morning, 7 December at Cataingan town in the south of Masbate Island. The typhoon’s centre passed within 20km of Masbate City at 2.00pm on Sunday. Winds of 100-185 kph lashed the island, causing considerable damage to structures of light-medium construction, extensive power outage, disruption to communication services, and moderate to heavy damage to trees and crops.
MR Chief Executive, Goh Chin Siang, says “MR will focus our initial relief efforts in the Masbate Province to reach victims of the typhoon. Although typhoon preparations and evacuations have kept casualties low, Typhoon Hagupit caused damages to infrastructure and homes and affected the food and medical supply chain in Masbate Province. We must reach the victims to ensure that their basic survival needs are met in the aftermath of the disaster.”
To date the typhoon has affected more than 2 million people, most of whom are being served inside and outside evacuation shelters. Local agencies state the number of deaths at 27 (at time of release). The Philippines Department of Agriculture initial estimates points to a loss of 498.3 million pesos (approximately S$14.8 million) to the crops and fisheries sectors.
MR has implemented ten humanitarian relief activities and eight sustainable development projects worth about S$3.0 million (approx. US$2.4 million) across the Philippines, including Typhoon Haiyan disaster relief in 2013, and later rehabilitation and reconstruction projects, some of which are still ongoing.
The public can contribute through the following donation modes or by initiating their own donation drives to support Mercy Relief’s fundraising efforts for the victims of Typhoon Hagupit 2014.
Modes of Donation
Cross cheque to Mercy Relief Limited with ‘Typhoon Hagupit Relief 2014’ written on the reverse, and mail to Blk 160, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #01-1568, S310160
Cash donations at Blk 160, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #01-1568, S310160
Funds transfer to Mercy Relief’s DBS Current Account 054-900742-0
Credit Card donation via www.mercyrelief.org (GIVE page, click on ‘Typhoon Hagupit Relief 2014’)
Credit Card donation via GIVEasia webpage (‘Help Victims of Typhoon Hagupit!)
1900 112 1010 ($10 donation)
1900 112 1050 ($50 donation)
About Mercy Relief
Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which implements both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes for the distressed, disadvantaged and destitute in Asia. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity in response to the human tragedies in the region. Mercy Relief also aims to promote a civic life of compassion, care and volunteerism. Its aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has continuously maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance. To date, Mercy Relief has disbursed about S$32.5 million in funds spread across 35 disaster relief and 42 sustainable development initiatives.
Mercy Relief’s humanitarian action is guided by the four general principles of engagement - uphold humanity, exercise impartiality, maintain neutrality and respect sovereignty. In the past 11 years, Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 23 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.
11 December 2014, Manila.
As the country braced for typhoon Ruby, World Health Organization prepositioned with the Department of Health medical supplies and equipment including satellite phones for an immediate response.
“Although the typhoon was weaker than typhoon Haiyan, it has still impacted families and health systems across the several regions. With the flooding, damaged health facilities, and mulitple evacuation centers, there are a number of public health risks which will need to be addressed over the coming weeks." said the WHO Country Representative in the Philippines Dr Julie Hall.
WHO has supported the Department of Health in re-activating SPEED—a mobile-based disease monitoring and reporting system—in affected areas. Data from SPEED indicate people are currently seeking medical help mostly for acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, and infected wounds at present.
WHO Head of Emergency Health Action in the Philippines Dr Megan Counahan explains, “Surveillance for early detection of diseases is the key to limiting their spread. In this particular emergency we need to be vigilant about diarrhoeal disease. Flooding increases the risk of water borne diseases. Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene are going to be critical over the coming weeks.”
The WHO will continue to work and support the DOH in assessing public health risks; coordinating with all sectors to ensure that the delivery of health services, disease surveillance and response, as well as the health issues facing mobile and displaced populations are supported.
For more information:
Chantal Claravall Communications Officer Mobile: +639175655140 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did being prepared save thousands of lives over the weekend?
While we grieve with the families of those who died in Typhoon Hagupit, and help those who lost homes, there's a collective sigh of relief as the typhoon leaves the Philippines.
Just over a year ago Typhoon Haiyan passed through these same locations, killing 7,000 people and leaving a million homeless.
So did the humanitarian community do anything that potentially saved lives between those two typhoons?
It's not a straightforward comparison: unlike Haiyan, much of Hagupit's destructive power had diminished by the time it made landfall. And we're still building a comprehensive picture of damage across the country. But several lessons from last year were put into practice.
Getting ready means more than stockpiling relief goods.
Being prepared for a disaster involves systems, processes, people and cash. It's no use filling a warehouse with rations if you don't have trucks to get them to people. Or fuel and drivers for the trucks. Or back-up transport if the roads are inaccessible. Or local volunteers to unpack and distribute the goods. Or a way of keeping track of stock. Or an information management system that alerts everyone involved of an approaching disaster and what they need to do.
Gradually, more donors are starting to invest in disaster preparedness and all the building blocks involved.
Evacuate early using pre-determined plans and locations.
Last weekend saw one of the largest peacetime evacuations in history. Local authorities evacuated close to a million people from the typhoon's path. It's clear that this step, which began long before Hagupit entered the Philippines, contributed to the reduced loss of life.
It can be hard to convince people to develop a household evacuation plan or practise a drill. Yet since Haiyan, these activities have been ramped up right across the country. Much work was done to ensure evacuation centres were structurally sound, weather-resistant and adequately stocked and staffed.
It's critical that we keep trying to make an evacuation centre a safe place for everyone. When emotions run high, people are crowded and facilities are limited, it's vital to help women, children and vulnerable groups stay safe from abuse and neglect.
Local responders need to work together.
There is no way such a mass evacuation could have occurred without collaboration between local authorities and local relief agencies. Over the last 12 months, local Red Cross volunteers have been working with local barangay officials to run evacuation drills and test warning systems. They collaborated again over the weekend, with volunteers serving hot meals and handing out blankets and relief kits in evacuation points.
Help people build back better and stronger.
Filipino people are famously tough: after all, they stare down the barrel of 20 typhoons a year. But we can help them protect what they have. Since Haiyan, a major focus for Red Cross has been 'building back better' using weather-resistant materials and housing frames designed to withstand high winds. An early assessment in Samar and San Isidro indicates that houses built to these specifications sustained minimal or no damage from Typhoon Hagupit.
Manage and share information effectively.
From tweets and photos as Typhoon Hagupit approached, to rapid assessments of the humanitarian impact after it passed through, more information was available to more people than in last year's typhoon. Again, this is the result of local people collecting and sharing information with the tools they had.
Which leads to the most important thing we learnt from Haiyan: no international aid agency 'rushing in' can replace trained local first responders. And the best contribution the humanitarian sector can make is to facilitate effective collaboration between local authorities, agencies and communities. We need to continue to get people together to identify what needs to be done in their homes and communities, work out how best to do it, and broker the resources to make it happen.
Typhoon Haiyan showed us that nature can be immensely, terrifyingly destructive. Typhoon Hagupit showed us that we need not wait helplessly in its path.
Peter Walton, Head of International Programs, Australian Red Cross
Typhoon Hagupit (locally known as Ruby) made its first land fall on Saturday evening, 6 December 2014 in Dolores municipality, Eastern Samar province with maximum sustained winds up to 160 kph and gusts up to 195 kph. This was followed by several more landfalls across the area south of Luzon, including Masbate, Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Batangas. As of 10 December 2014, this slow-moving typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm, with sustaining maximum winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 80 kph, with the entire system moving west at 20kph. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC), Hagupit should traverse Pagasa Island in Palawan, and exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday evening, 11 December 2014.
Hagupit is still expected to cause rough sea conditions over the seaboards of Northern and Central Luzon, threatening fishing boats and small sea craft. Estimated rainfall between 5 to15 mm per hour is expected within 200 km diameter of the storm.
Reports from the NDRRMC on 10 December 2014 indicate that 2.4 million people (approximately 533,000 families) have been affected in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Visayas, CARAGA, and the National Capital Region (NCR). The NDRRMC also reports 11 deaths, but these numbers are expected to rise as further reports come in, especially from the Eastern Samar area.
Intensive evacuation measures taken by authorities prior to the landfall moved more than one million people out of the storm’s path and into evacuation centres. As of 9 December 2014, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reports that 370,000 families (approximately 1.65 million people) are still being provided with services in 5,193 evacuation centres. This number is expected to reduce quickly as people return to their place of origin to check the damage to their possessions, houses and land, and start the clean-up process.
NDRRMC figures record damage to 910 houses, half of which have been destroyed in Romblon, Sorsogon, Masbate, Albay, Camarines Sur, Cebu and Surigao del Norte. This number does not include Samar Island and is, therefore, expected to rise with damages in Eastern Samar and Samar provinces. PRC has reported from its initial rapid assessments that about 9,564 houses were totally destroyed and 13,416 partially destroyed in Eastern and Western Samar. While destruction may not be as severe as anticipated, reports indicate that houses have been damaged in less-populated areas along the coast, which were in the direct path of the typhoon. These houses are likely to have been made with light materials such as bamboo, plywood, or nipa1 . In other areas, power outages and damage to telecommunication lines and infrastructure occurred, but many of this has either been restored or adapted for use for the time being.
The slow progress of Hagupit keeps the threat of floods and landslides hovering over the region, especially in the mountainous and low-lying areas. To date, 17 areas in Quezon province, Laguna, Marinduque and Biñan have experienced flooding, some of which have subsided. The flooding has also impacted crops and fisheries.
Landslides in Oriental Mindoro and Batangas, and rockslides in Marinduque, have also been reported. No casualties from these incidents have been reported as of yet.
Philippines: Typhoon Hagupit: Preparedness measures have paid off in Eastern Visayas region of Philippines
As Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) moves away from the Philippines, initial reports of its impact are proving that investments in preparedness and building resilience against disaster are paying off.
UNDP teams that have surveyed the situation in Tacloban City and the coastal municipalities of Eastern Samar -- including Borongan, Hernani, Dolores, and Arteche – report that Typhoon Ruby has caused much less destruction compared to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), in November 2013. This time, local government and residents swung into action conducting preventive evacuation of homes, setting up better coordination and planning, and disseminating information about the potential impact of Typhoon Ruby.
Along with other UN agencies, UNDP has supported local assessments that led to early evacuations, particularly in the Eastern Visayas region that includes the islands of Leyte and Samar. Along with typhoon-affected communities, more than half a million people were moved to safety in shelters stocked with food and water.
“Local government officials and partners said the training provided by UNDP on disaster risk reduction and management helped them in effectively handling the evacuations,” said James Abdul from the UNDP team Guiuan.
Since January 2014, UNDP organized about 36 capacity building activities involving more than 1,000 participants across three provinces: Leyte, Biliran, and Samar.
Pre-planned evacuation routes, shelters, and early warning systems -- developed along with national and local governments – and educating residents about the hazards and risks that affect their homes, jobs and lives, seemed to help tremendously. No casualties were reported in a majority of the affected areas.
Now just a few days after Typhoon Ruby hit the Eastern Visayas, most people are heading back from the safety of shelters to their homes – only a handful of families remain in evacuation centres.
However, initial observations have shown that major challenges remain, particularly repairing the considerable damage to homes, infrastructure, and restoring livelihoods in the agricultural and fisheries sector.
In reviewing reports coming in from across the country, UNDP Philippines Country Director Maurice Dewulf said: “Filipinos are admirably resilient – as they have again shown during Typhoon Hagupit. We will continue to work with the Philippine Government, the communities and our partners to identify further areas of support, especially trying to help people quickly get back to work.”