The Philippines is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. Annually, an average of 22 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility of which around 6 to 7 cause significant damage. Conflicts in Mindanao also cause intermittent cycles of forced displacement.
In 2007, OCHA established a presence in Manila to complement the Government’s response to natural disasters and to strengthen humanitarian coordination. In September 2009, Tropical Storm Ketsana devastated Metro Manila, prompting the Emergency Relief Coordinator to appoint the Resident Coordinator as also the Humanitarian Coordinator.
OCHA’s presence in the Philippines was upgraded to a country office in 2010, with a dual focus: emergency response preparedness and response to sudden onset emergencies and the protracted conflict situation in Mindanao.
Since then, the office has quickly scaled up capacity to respond to new emergencies including the humanitarian system wide response to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.