Philippines - ReliefWeb News
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: email@example.com
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.”
By Andy Brown
With another typhoon threatening to bring another major disaster, families in the Philippines braced themselves for the worst. Luckily the storm diminished in strength, but a big part of reducing damage and saving lives was also that communities were prepared.
QUEZON CITY, Philippines, 9 December 2014 – Typhoon Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, passed south of Manila overnight on Monday 8 December. The eye of the storm missed the city, but there was plenty of rain and wind, carrying with it flood risks, in particular for communities living on flood plains near the river.
In Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City (part of Metro Manila), an evacuation centre was set up in a covered court on the hillside above a flood plain. By 4 p.m., it was already starting to fill up with women and children who arrived early with a few possessions to claim a space on the mats in the centre of the court. Barangay staff were preparing food for evacuees, and the Health Department had set up a small clinic to do medical check-ups.
Elna Cirilo, 31, had just arrived with her two children Nicole, 6, and Cyrus, 5. She was eight months pregnant with her third child. “We came here to get away from danger and to be secure,” she said. “My husband stayed behind to guard the house, but if the flood waters rise, he’ll come and join us here.”
Elna and her husband grow and sell vegetables for a living, earning around 100 pesos a day (US$2.25). They don’t pay rent on their home, but they still struggle to get by and sometimes can’t afford to send their children to school. “Our house has already flooded three times before,” Elna said. “I’m very worried, but there’s nothing I can do.”
Nicole was too shy to talk to visitors but Cyrus shared his views on the situation. “I’m doing okay,” he said. “I’m afraid of the storm, but I’m happy that my friends are here and we’ll have something to eat.”
Just after 5 p.m., a barangay worker updated information on a whiteboard to show that there were 77 families and 370 individuals in the evacuation centre. Outside, it was getting dark, and the rain was increasingly heavy. People walked down the road under umbrellas, carrying their valuables and heading for the evacuation centre.
Disaster risk reduction
That Elna and her family were safe and secure in advance of the storm’s arrival was largely a testament to the disaster risk reduction and preparedness plans of Quezon City Government. Having learned the lessons of Typhoon Haiyan last year, the preparations, evacuation and humanitarian response for this typhoon have been exemplary across the Philippines.
Earlier in the day, Quezon City Administrator Aldrin Cuna was in the control room at Quezon City Hall with colleagues from each government department. Around City Hall, emergency workers were catching a few hours’ sleep on mats, chairs and even in stairwells. “We’ve been waiting for Ruby to arrive tonight,” Aldrin said with a smile. “We deployed most of our boats and vehicles to flood-prone areas on Saturday, but we have a few left here and emergency staff on standby to go out wherever needed.”
Aldrin explained what the city government was doing for at-risk communities, including setting up evacuation centres for people living in flood-prone areas near the river. “These are mainly slum districts,” he said. “The barangay councils are already going round asking people to move to the evacuation centres. Sometimes people don’t want to leave their homes and possessions. They’re afraid of looting, or that they may not be able to return. But their lives are more valuable.”
Quezon City Government has been working with UNICEF on child-friendly spaces and disaster risk reduction, including a twinning programme with other local governments in the Philippines. Since Typhoon Haiyan, Quezon has been mentoring three municipalities in the Tacloban area. “We’re encouraging them to take natural hazards and vulnerabilities into consideration in urban planning and reconstruction, and to consider alternative livelihoods for relocated families,” Aldrin explained.
The worst is over
In the event, the storm passed by Quezon City with minimal damage. There was some overnight flooding in houses near the river, but by mid-afternoon most families had left the evacuation centre, and the rest were packing up their belongings and getting ready to go home. Compared to the night before, there was a visible sense of relief on people’s faces.
Joselito Paulino, the health centre doctor assigned to the barangay, was pleased with how things had gone. “We’ve been here all night,” he said. “We fed people, did check-ups and gave out medication. I saw 98 patients during the storm. Most of them had acute respiratory tract infections. Some of these were existing conditions, but the stormy weather made them worse. We’ll follow up with them again in three days.”
Elna and her children were tired but happy to be going home. “It was okay spending the night here, but it was hot and crowded, and I couldn’t sleep well,” Elna said. “I spoke to my husband this morning, and he said the water rose to knee height in the middle of the night. But it’s already gone back down, so it’s safe for us to return.”
Cyrus and Nicole were also looking forward to going home and seeing their father. “I want to read a book when we get back,” Cyrus said. “I don’t mind which one – any book will do.”
Key Concerns & Trends
• GPH and the international humanitarian community are capable of meeting virtually all disaster response requirements.
As Hagupit exits the Philippines a clearer picture is emerging of the damages and main needs on the ground; still several days before full extent known
IFRC reports overall damage appears moderate; however in Masbate, Samar and Leyte there is a need for food, water and shelter
MSF teams were able to reach the most affected and remote areas of Samar by helicopter yesterday afternoon. Two teams assessed the cities of Dolores, Arteche and Gamay, in the north east side of the island.
In Dolores the city had learned from the devastation of last year’s typhoon Haiyan, with the entire population evacuated days in advance and food stockpiled in preparation. The Department of Health (DOH) had reported only two casualties with a further 68 injuries. There were reported cases of children suffering from acute watery diarrhoea, fever and an increase in measles. DOH teams were preparing for outbreaks of measles and water borne diseases such as dengue fever. Most of the city had been reached by the DOH, including the island barangays (villages). There was damage to some infrastructure and housing. One island barangay was reported to have only four houses left standing, while the city’s new public hospital (which had yet to be moved into) also suffered minor damage during the typhoon. The two existing city hospitals are both functioning. As of Wednesday, the city had no electricity or communications.
It was a similar situation in Arteche and Gamay, with both areas evacuated in preparation for the typhoon. The medical needs were again quite minor, with some reports of upper respiratory infections, fever and cases of diarrhoea. There were some damages to buildings and houses. In Arteche the hospital and rural health unit were both functioning. The Gamay hospital was also functioning. In both areas electricity was down, with generators being used. There were no communications in either city and water was being sourced by pump.
It was assessed that there is no need for a surgical intervention from MSF.
Another MSF team reached the island of Masbate on Tuesday. Again, evacuations were done days before the typhoon hit. There were no fatalities, with only minor injuries such as lacerations, cuts, punctures. Some damage to houses/buildings. The team will now travel to Samar to assess the North West side, finishing at Catarman.
Hazard Description (Wind speed etc.)
Hagupit was the 4th Supertyphoon in 2014 in the Western Pacific
On 30 Nov-02 Dec 2014
- Hagupit developed from a low pressure area that was identified at 4N 154E in the area of the Federated States of Micronesia.
- Warm ocean water and favourable atmospheric conditions fed thunderstorm clusters that became organized and formed a Tropical Storm on 1 Dec.
- Hagupit became a Cat 1 typhoon as of 2 Dec 14, 15 UTC, with sustained winds of 70 kt and a propagation speed of 17 kt to the west
- Tropical storm and typhoon warnings were issued for parts of Micronesia (Woleai, Yap)
After impacting a number of islands across the Philippines, Tropical Cyclone Hagupit has been downgraded to a tropical storm and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has lifted the public storm warning. Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, made landfall as a powerful typhoon in Eastern Samar, then crossed through the central Philippine Islands, before impacting Luzon Island. In preparation for the storm, over 600,000 people were evacuated from at-risk areas. Additionally, equipment and personnel were made ready to support response.
The latest situation update from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)—which must still be considered preliminary—reports over 2.2 million people affected, with over 1.6 million currently being served by evacuation centers. As Hagupit moved across the Philippines it caused power outages and disruption of telecommunications, impacted transportation; restoration work is underway.
According to the same preliminary NDRRMC update, 151 people were injured and eight deaths have been recorded from drowning, electrocution, asphyxia, and other trauma. A rockslide occurred in the Municipality of Torrijos, Marinduque Island, and a landslide occurred in Muelle, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. A total of 61 domestic and nine international flights were been cancelled and 984 passengers remain stranded. Vessels and rolling cargoes are also still impacted. Damage to agriculture is estimated at 1,040,396,587 PHP (~ US$23 million).
The latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) advisory indicates that Hagupit is expected to track west-southwestward and slowly weaken, until making landfall in southern Vietnam. Following landfall it should weaken rapidly and dissipate. Pacific Disaster Center continues to produce situational-awareness products as needed which are posted to DisasterAWARE/EMOPS (Emergency Operations) for disaster managers. Public access to the latest information on this and all global hazards is available in PDC’s Atlas.
If you are an emergency manager and would like access to EMOPS, post your request here.
For more information on Tropical Cyclone Hagupit: • Visit the Joint Typhoon Warning Center for the latest updates, or • Read about it passing through FSM or on approach to the Philippines.
For more information on Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in 2013: • Read about impact, initial response, and response into recovery.
• At 4:00 PM today, Tropical Storm "RUBY" was estimated based on all available data at 350 km northeast of PAGASA island, Palawan (13.7°N,
115.8°E), with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph. It is forecast to move west at 15 kph. Meanwhile, the Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated at 1,450 km east of Mindanao (7.6°N, 139.5°E). Northeast Monsoon affecting Northern Luzon
• The regions of Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos will experience cloudy skies with light rains. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms
• Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast will prevail over Luzon and Visayas and the coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to rough. Elsewhere, winds will be light to moderate coming from the northeast to east with slight to moderate seas
International aid agency CARE will distribute food packs to families hit by Typhoon Hagupit, as a clearer picture emerges of the extent of the damage.
Typhoon Hagupit, which made its first landfall on Saturday evening in Eastern Samar, made four other landfalls in several provinces in the Philippines, and saw a massive evacuation of around one million people across the country. CARE is now closely monitoring the storm as it moves further west towards Vietnam.
Alexandra Maclean, CARE’s Country Director in the Philippines said CARE and its partners will be distributing food packs containing rice and canned goods to nearly 3,000 of the hardest‐hit families in the Philippines provinces of Northern and Eastern Samar.
“While we are all thankful that early evacuations clearly saved many lives, Hagupit has still brought much rain, and sustained, powerful winds that have battered large parts of the country still reeling from last year’s Super Typhoon Haiyan,” said Ms Maclean.
“Our focus is now on providing emergency food and shelter to families hit hard by Hagupit, and we will be distributing food, shelter kits and supporting people with cash assistance to get back on their feet in the coming weeks.”
Rachid Boumnijel, CARE Philippines’ Livelihood Advisor, who is currently in Samar as part of CARE’s damage assessment team, said that while the damage caused by Hagupit was not on the scale of last year’s Super Typhoon Haiyan, many families’ livelihoods and income sources had been lost.
“This is already one of the poorest regions in the country, and it was hard hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan last year. It’s clear from what we’re seeing here in Samar that many people have lost their income, such as banana crops, in this typhoon. This storm will push many people further into poverty,” said Mr Boumnijel.
To support CARE’s response in the Philippines following Typhoon Hagupit, Australians can donate to CARE’s Global Emergency Fund (www.care.org.au/global‐emergency‐fund). A donation of $13 will provide a family with a food kit to support them for the coming weeks.
CARE has worked in the Philippines since 1949, providing emergency relief when disaster strikes and helping communities prepare for disasters. CARE's past responses in the Philippines have included Typhoon Ketsana (2009), Typhoon Bopha (2012) and Super Typhoon Haiyan (2013). Over the past 12 months since Haiyan, CARE and its partners in the Philippines have reached more than 318,000 people with life‐saving food, shelter support and financial assistance to rebuild their incomes.
For interviews with CARE emergency staff, please contact CARE Australia Senior Media Officer Dylan Quinnell on 0412 449 691
The National Government Frontline Team continues to work with national agencies, local government units, humanitarian organizations, and volunteers in helping rehabilitate the towns affected by Typhoon Ruby.
Owing to these coordinated efforts, all national roads in Eastern Samar are now passable. Personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have arrived to repair the damaged San Julian Bridge, which they aim to finish restoring by 7 pm tonight. In the meantime, Secretary Mar Roxas is organizing the formation of a “human conveyor belt” to manually pass food packs to towns across the bridge.
Relief goods continue to be delivered all across the province. Today, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is expecting a total of 8 runs of a C-130 plane carrying food packs. These will in turn be delivered to all affected residents, not just to those in evacuation centers, thereby reaching a total of 95,417 families in Eastern Samar.
In order to further boost security, additional Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel have arrived from Manila to augment the forces currently manning major supply routes and providing manpower assistance. Thanks to their vigilance, there have been no reports of untoward incidents.
Globe signal was restored yesterday, while Smart will finish the complete rehabilitation of their power lines in a few days’ time. As normalcy resumes in the area, evacuees have started returning to their homes. Stores have also been reopening, and accordingly the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been at work to prevent price manipulation.
The DSWD is now working with local government units to confirm the data on totally damaged and partially damaged houses. As soon as the numbers are verified, the next round of calamity funds will be requested through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The DSWD aims to provide emergency shelter assistance by the end of January, if not sooner.
December 10, 2014, 4:26 p.m.
On Wednesday, December 10, the Government of Japan decided to extend emergency relief goods worth approximately 22 million yen (blankets, sleeping pads, plastic sheets, etc.) to the Republic of the Philippines, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), based on the request from the Government of the Philippines.
Typhoon Hagupit (Philippine name: Ruby) landed the Philippines on December 6 and brought about massive damages including casualties. Over 1.7 million people have evacuated so far due to the typhoon.
Based on the request from the Government of the Philippines, and in light of friendly relations between Japan and the Philippines, the Government of Japan has made the decision to extend emergency assistance for humanitarian aid for the affected people.
(* The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)
By Nichola Jones, IFRC
As Typhoon Hagupit finally exits the Philippines, a picture of the main needs on the ground is emerging.
Overall, damage appears to be moderate, but in areas such as Masbate, Samar and Leyte there is a need for food, water and emergency shelter. The rain accompanying Hagupit brought significant flooding and some landslides – damaging infrastructure, crops and livelihoods.
Close to the track of the storm where it made landfall on Eastern Samar, unofficial government figures estimate that between 10,000-20,000 homes made from local lightweight materials could be damaged or destroyed.
Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Philippines, Kari Isomaa, said: “It will be several days before we know the true extent of Hagupit’s impact, but the Red Cross is providing emergency supplies to those hardest hit.”
On Tuesday morning over one million people remained in more than 5,000 evacuation centers. Many have returned home but some will remain longer where their houses are flooded or damaged. The Philippine Red Cross has been providing hot meals to hundreds of families in evacuation centres and has hundreds of volunteers working across the affected areas. Relief supplies and equipment including a water tanker, rescue vehicles, an ambulance and vans to provide hot meals have been sent to Samar along with a specially trained emergency crew. The IFRC has provided the Philippine Red Cross with non-food relief items for 10,000 families including hygiene kits, tarpaulins, mosquito nets and jerry cans.
In Tacloban in Leyte Province, which was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan last year, there have been reports of some damage to buildings but the Red Cross’s 700 newly built houses have weathered their first typhoon well. Community leader Tarcisio Gernale, in Dagami near Tacloban, said: “When we heard the typhoon was coming we knew our new homes were the safest place to be.”
In Quezon province, tens of thousands of people spent up to three days in 452 evacuation centres, but almost all have now returned to their homes. Initial reports suggest some damage to rice farms in Padre Burgos and Catagauan in Quezon but homes have survived.
Grandmother Noemi Samieu, from Basiao in Quezon, saw her seaside home wrecked by Typhoon Glenda in July and was among the first people to evacuate before Hagupit hit.
Standing in the ruins of her home, the 54-year-old said: “My house was completed destroyed by Glenda so I know the power of typhoons. I evacuated with my family – we weren’t going to take any chances. When we returned, it was a relief to see the rest of the houses here had escaped this time.”
By the time it reached Metro Manila on Monday, Typhoon Hagupit had slowed to a crawl and brought only light rain to most areas. Although the capital escaped unscathed, tens of thousands of people – mostly from poor districts in low-lying areas – were evacuated up to three days before as a precautionary measure. At a Manila evacuation centre on Tuesday, numbers had started to dwindle from a peak of about 100 families the previous night.
Philippine Red Cross provided hot meals, First Aid and medical attention, with milk and biscuits for the children. Volunteers keep them amused with fun games mixed with hygiene promotion activities.
Mary Ann Garcia’s family lives near the school and decided to evacuate after warnings from barangay officials. All too familiar with flooding in their area, Mary Ann, 23, had evacuated the previous night together with her four children. “It is fortunate we weren’t flooded and we only had to stay for one night,” she said.
Philippines: UNICEF and WHO support DOH ban on donation of milk formula and encourage all to protect, promote and support breastfeeding during Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) Response
MANILA, 10 December 2014 — Following the landfall of Typhoon Hagupit, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) jointly expressed alarm over the high possibility of milk formula or breast milk substitutes being distributed in typhoon-affected areas as part of the immediate response.
“Supporting breastfeeding is one of the most important things we can do to protect babies in areas affected by typhoon Ruby. The uncontrolled distribution and use of milk substitutes in emergencies is extremely dangerous given the serious water and sanitation challenges associated with disasters,” said Dr. Julie Hall, WHO Representative in the Philippines.
Consistent with the global recommendation from the World Health Assembly, the Department of Health (DOH), UNICEF and WHO call for action to protect, promote and support breastfeeding during emergencies. Mothers can breastfeed even when they are under difficult circumstances. Knowing this is an important part of being able to continue breastfeeding. Non-breastfed babies affected by this disaster need to be urgently identified so their feeding situation can be assessed, and their mothers provided with skilled support and the safest feeding option.
Artificial feeding can only be a last resort, with strict measures to minimize the risks of artificial feeding by ensuring that any donation and/or supply of breast milk substitutes are purchased, distributed and used according to specific criteria specified in the Operational Guidance for Emergency Relief Staff and Programme Managers on infant and young child feeding in emergencies.
“Breast milk is without doubt the gold standard for infant nutrition. An estimated 8,400 lives could be saved every year if every Philippine family with infants and young children would practice optimal exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life with continued breastfeeding until two years of age,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative to the Philippines.
Breastfeeding has proven benefits that no milk substitutes can equal. Essential vitamins, amino acids and antibodies that are naturally present in a mother’s breast milk help reduce the occurrence of a growing list of illnesses, such as ear and respiratory infections, diarrhoea and meningitis, and are also credited with helping to protect children against allergies, asthma, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome. UNICEF and WHO urge to include capacity building for breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding as part of emergency preparedness and planning, and to commit financial and human resources for proper and timely implementation of breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding in this and subsequent emergency.
Typhoon HAGUPIT is on its way leaving Philippines Area of Responsibility (PAR). Public Storm Warning Signal has been lifted for all areas in Philippines. By this evening, it is expected to be outside of PAR.
532,887 families or 2,392,593 persons have been affected in Region NCR, IVA, IVB, V, VI, VII, VIII and XIII (CARAGA)
389,807 families or 1,766,929 persons have been displaced
11 death and 480 injured