From December 16-18 2011, Tropical Storm Washi (locally known as Sendong) swept across the island of Mindanao, Philippines. Strong winds and heavy rains caused flooding, landslides and flash floods that resulted in massive destruction to both lives and livelihoods. More than 1,400 people were killed. As of February 17, more than 14,000 persons remain inside evacuation centers and another 200,000 are displaced, seeking shelter throughout Mindanao. More than 52,000 houses were damaged, with an estimated loss of more than $47 million USD.
Almost 2 months after the disaster, access to shelter, water, sanitation, and food remain priorities for those affected. Recent reports indicate that the nutritional status of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in evacuation centers, particularly of children under 5, has continued to deteriorate due to inadequate food rations. Humanitarian agencies are calling for urgent funding to scale up early recovery and livelihood activities to provide IDPs with food assistance. Food-for-work, cash-for-work, and cash transfer projects are currently being implemented which will ease the situation, as the additional income will allow IDPs to access needed food items.
Summary of Situation
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, a member of the ACT Alliance, has provided generous support for this project.
- LWR is part of the UN coordination clusters focused on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and Livelihoods. The clusters have been instrumental in providing information and coordination on relief efforts and identifying potential gaps in assistance or populations reached.
- 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. As the Sphere Focal Point for the Philippines, LWR has also raised the visibility and awareness on Sphere within the country.
- LWR is coordinating with the Cash and Learning Partnership (CaLP) to actively disseminate information and coordinate cash transfer projects to affected populations. The CaLP network is also partnering 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.
Initial 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.
- Emergency drinking water was provided to 326 families (1,500 persons) in Zone 4A and B in Tambo village of Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City. Each family member received a 20-liter water container (jerry can) and a 19-day supply of clean drinking water. Families were trained on cleaning the containers to ensure safety in using the provided potable water. During the 19-day period of water distribution in these areas, piped water supply was restored, although water quality is still being tested.
Cash Transfer Project
- Cash assistance to 443 affected farmers in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur was provided within one week of the emergency to help people meet immediate food security needs. Each farmer received the equivalent of $116 for emergency family needs, with 2,165 people indirectly benefiting from the project.
- A long-time LWR partner in Cagayan de Oro, Christ Lutheran Church of the Philippines, provided cash transfers to 25 families with immediate needs. Emergency grants of up to $400.00 were provided which allowed families to purchases needed items such as food, non-food items such as blankets and mosquito nets, clothing, and shelter assistance.
- LWR worked with MARADECA, one of its development project partners, to provide emergency cash to the neediest families, especially those whose livelihood had been impacted. Families were provided with around $80 each for emergency family needs, which is equivalent to about one month’s income in the area. The disbursement of checks reached 1,600 families (8,000 persons) in 5 municipalities and 26 villages of Lanao del Sur. An evaluation will be conducted in March to review the results of this initiative.
- The largest emergency cash assistance program was implemented in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, the two areas most impacted by T.S. Washi. LWR worked with partner MASS-SPEC to implement a large-scale cash transfer project in which a total of 4,000 families were selected. MASS-SPEC distributed the emergency grants though ATM cards designed specifically for the program. The cards can be used at no cost at any of 9 cash distribution centers, with recipients documenting what they will buy with the assistance.
- LWR is working with HfHP on two shelter projects. The first, in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, aims to provide shelter assistance to 1204 families affected by T.S. Washi. The project provided building materials and shelter repair kits to the affected families and will increase the capacity of the local partner as well as the affected communities in responding to their shelter needs. HfHP’s technical assistance will also include provision of training on housing regulations, shelter needs assessment and emergency response mitigation which aims to enable local stakeholders to better respond to disasters in the future.
- LWR’s second project with HfHP will address large-scale shelter needs in both Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City. More than 6,000 families lost homes and land during the extensive flooding, and all are scheduled to be “relocated” to surrounding areas. Land has been allocated by the Philippines Government and piped water and electricity is being installed in the sites. HfHP is working closely with government ministries, such as the Department of Social Welfare, to construct the permanent housing for affected families. Each house costs approximately $2,500, with the first 500 housed being handed over to the new owners in April.
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