by Trevor Knoblich
Jun 24, 2012
- Schools in Typhoon Washi-affected areas are beginning to resume, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
- The shelter situation for many affected internally displaced persons (IDPs) has improved, though 4,209 families (18,405 persons) are still living in 47 IDP sites, with 11,000 people still in tents or makeshift shelters as monsoon season approaches.
- Livelihoods activities to help generate income among affected families are resuming.
Summary of Situation
Tropical Storm Washi, known locally as “Sendong”, swept across the island of Mindanao, Philippines on December 16, 2011, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that caused massive flooding and landslides in Region X (Northern Mindanao), Region XI (Davao Region), CARAGA Region and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The number of casualties caused by Tropical Storm Washi was the highest in the world for 2011. The affected areas rarely experience tropical storms. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), over 1,200 people died, 6,000 were injured and more than 180 people were missing as of January 26, 2012. The massive storm affected over 1.1 million people, of which 440,000 were displaced in 55 evacuation centers.
The storm damaged more than 52,000 homes, of which 14,800 were completely destroyed. Damages to infrastructure such as roads, bridges, health facilities and schools amount to Php 1.4 billion (US$32.5 million). Rice and corn crops worth Php 273 million (US$6.3 million) were also damaged.
Summary of Situation by Affected Area
81% of the people affected by this emergency were in one or more of LWR’s priority action zones, or areas where LWR has ongoing relief and development projects.
Details of specific regions affected, as well as LWR’s response, are detailed below:
Cagayan de Oro, Region X
Cagayan de Oro was one of the most severely damaged areas, with more than 38,000 families (228,000 people) from 41 villages affected. More than 7,300 houses were damaged or destroyed, with many residents seeking shelter in evacuation centers. In mid-February, further flooding damaged approximately 200 tents housing IDPs, adding to the urgent need to move families to transitional or permanent shelters. Hygiene and sanitation also remain a concern, with limited access to toilets, as well as gender sensitive bathing and washing areas.
Iligan City, Region X
Iligan City was also dramatically affected by the storm. 490 deaths were reported, and a total of more 20,000 families (90,285 people) from 30 villages were affected. Nearly 4,000 houses were significantly damaged. Lack of access to land for relocation and transitional shelter remains a key challenge in recovery efforts.
Lanao del Sur, ARMM
Lanao del Sur contains the highest number of affected villages in all of northern Mindanao, with a total of 419 villages – nearly 140,000 people – reporting damage in this area. The situation was compounded by the isolated location of the affected areas and poor road conditions.
Surigao del Sur, Caraga Region
In Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, more than 18,000 people were affected. Of this number, 63% went to various evacuation centers, including village halls, health centers, chapels and high school buildings. Damage is estimated at more than $622,000 USD (PhP 27.8 million). This region is usually outside of the Philippines typhoon belt, so many residents underestimated the threat posed by the approaching storm.
Communications and Coordination
- LWR is coordinating with colleagues in the ACT Alliance, and has issued a joint ACT Appeal for funding with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. LWR is working with local partner Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HfHP) to rebuild shelter for affected families in Surigao del Sur. The project aims to assist more than 1,200 families in the repair of partially damaged houses or reconstruction of houses that were destroyed. DanChurchAid and the Methodist Relief and Development Fund UK, members of the ACT Alliance, have provided generous support for this project.
- LWR is the chair of the network of Mindanao-based NGOs (MINGOs). In this role, LWR is coordinating updates and situation reports, as well as facilitating capacity building for future responses. In February, LWR facilitated training on Quality and Accountability standards, which were open to MINGOs members. The trainings focused on the Sphere Project’s Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response (Sphere) and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), which focuses on management standards and community participation in relief and development activities.LWR is considered a leader in Quality and Accountability for Humanitarian response in Mindanao
- LWR is considered a leader in Quality and Accountability for Humanitarian response in Mindanao. As the Sphere Focal Point for the Philippines, LWR has also raised the visibility and awareness on Sphere within the country by hosting a “training of trainers” among local organizations to ensure awareness of the Sphere minimum standards. A second training is scheduled in the coming months.
- LWR is leading the coordination among responding agencies to disseminate information and coordinate cash transfer projects to affected populations. This network is working with the Government’s Department of Social Work to ensure cash disbursements are in line with average incomes, cash for work programs, and government emergency cash grants.
Response Activities and Planning
Non Food Items (Quilts and Kits)
- Material Resources were distributed to 3,500 affected families in Cagayan de Oro on 23 December. Families from Isla de Oro and Valencia City received Quilts, Baby Care Kits, Personal Care Kits with toothpaste, and School Kits.
- LWR also reached out through partner International Relief and Development to supply Quilts and Kits to IDPs in and around Iligan City. The distribution included more than 2,800 Quilts, 8,400 Personal Care Kits with toothpaste, 3,500 School Kits and 2,000 Baby Care Kits.
LWR provided safe drinking water to 620 families in Cagayan de Oro City with funds leveraged from other donors. In close coordination with other NGOs and the local authorities, it was determined that the gaps in water were both on frequency and quantity of supply, as well as storage. The project was focused on one area on Cagayan de Oro city in which the water supply would not be restored for several weeks. Each member of the target families was provided with a 20-liter jerry can to store water. Water rations were provided at a maximum of 15 liters per day per person for 19 days. Communities used the water for drinking, cooking and bathing.
Cash Transfer Project
4,750 typhoon–affected families in Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and Lanao del Sur received cash assistance. Two methods were used in distributing cash grants:
- Check-cashing system – The beneficiaries were asked to go to a nearby commercial bank with a claim stub, which was provided to them the day before. A project staff then collected the claim stub and after verifying the stub with the beneficiary’s ID, the beneficiary received a check equivalent to one month’s income.
- ATM cards – The beneficiaries were asked to go to a distribution center where their names were validated in a pre-selected list and were given ATM cards with unique numerical passcodes. The beneficiaries were then able to withdraw the cash at any time within a 12 month period at a nearby ATM machine or at a point-of-sale (POS) machine which were set-up at the distribution centers during the 10-day distribution period.
Once the cash was received, the beneficiaries purchased basic necessities for their families such as food, medicine, clothing and other household items which were lost from the floods. A few of the recipients also used the money to pay their debt or to buy school supplies for their children.
An additional 468 families in Cagayan de Oro City and Surigao del Sur also benefitted with another cash transfer program funded by LWR, and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) World Relief and Human Care. 25 families in Cagayan de Oro City received checks which were cashed at a local bank and were used to buy kitchen utensils, toiletries, health kits, cleaning materials and bedding materials. In Surigao del Sur, 443 families received cash grants through a local remittance center.
LWR has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HfHP) to provide permanent housing to 548 families in Cagayan de Oro City and Surigao del Sur displaced by the flooding. In Cagayan de Oro, Habitat for Humanity Philippines is working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare on relocation and permanent shelter issues. LWR is supporting funds for 35 permanent shelters, with plans for increasing this as funding becomes available. In Surigao del Sur, the initial assessment of the target areas, showed much of the areas has been designated “no build zones” by the local authorities due to threats of landslide, tsunami, earthquakes and typhoons. Additional relocation sites for the residents have been identified. Some residents who were willing to relocate will receive newly constructed houses. For those that choose to stay, LWR and HfHP will host training sessions to discuss the risks involved in remaining in the ‘no build zones.’
Early Recovery and Rehabilitation Plans
- Livelihood recovery programs are a top priority in the near future, as many LWR ongoing livelihood projects were affected by the typhoon. However, until emergency needs are addressed, it is difficult for families to focus on long term recovery. LWR continues to coordinate with government agencies, NGOs, the UN, and donors to keep abreast of livelihood recovery programs including cash for work.
For More Information:
- Summary of LWR PHI Emergency Response Projects
- LWR’s Philippines Emergency Alert Page
- LWR Blog
- LWR Facebook update
Communications / Media Related questions should be directed to:
Director for Creative Services and Media Relations