As of 11 May, a tropical depression named Vongfong (locally named Ambo) was located about 400km east of Mindanao and was moving in a northwest direction. The Philippines weather bureau forecasted Ambo to intensify into a severe tropical storm in the next 48 hours and expected it to make landfall over the Bicol Region on the evening of 14-15 May. (OCHA, 12 May 2020)
Following initial landfall as a Category 3 typhoon in San Policarpo, Eastern Samar, just after noon on 14 May, Typhoon Vongfong (locally named Ambo) continues to bring destructive winds and heavy to intense rainfall as it moves northwest towards mainland Luzon. On 15 May, the eye of the typhoon carried maximum sustained winds of 125 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 165 km/h making further landfalls in Northern Samar, Masbate and Quezon provinces.
The combination of high winds, sustained heavy rainfall and storm surges has impacted vulnerable communities in the Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Southern Luzon which were also heavily affected by Typhoon Kammuri (local name Tisoy) in December 2019. Regional authorities in Bicol report that over 300,000 people sought refuge in some 2,300 evacuation centers across the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Camarines Sur. About 15,900 people have preemptively evacuated in the provinces of Northern Samar, Samar and Eastern Samar. (OCHA, 15 May 2020).
As of 16 May, Ambo had slightly weakened but then maintained its strength as it continued to move north-northwestward over the West Philippine Sea as reported at 13:00 hrs. Ambo is likely to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday (18 May) afternoon. (AHA Centre, 16 May 2020)
As of 18 May, at least 218,400 people were affected by Typhoon Vongfong in 173 cities/municipalities in 36 provinces of Regions Il, Ill, Vill, and CAR, and a total of 54 persons were injured in Regions III and VIII. The evacuation centers reported are now closed and there are no more displaced/evacuated people (Govt. of the Philippines, 18 May 2020).
According to initial reports, over 1,100 houses were destroyed and 6,300 were partially damaged in Eastern Samar Province, including nine health facilities and the only COVID-19 accredited testing laboratory for Bicol Region. It is estimated that more than 40,000 farmers have been affected by damages to farm land and production losses. Eastern Samar declared a State of Calamity and has requested the national government to activate quick response funds as local calamity funds were already depleted for the COVID-19 response. OCHA and partners of the inter-cluster coordination group are currently undertaking a remote assessment of the impact of the typhoon through local partners (OCHA, 19 May 2020).
As of 23 May, at least 578,571 people were affected by Typhoon Vongfong in 491 barangays in Regions I, II, III, VIII and CAR. And there were more than 3,600 people who took temporary shelter in 72 evacuation centers in Regions I, II, III and CAR. All evacuation centers are currently closed (Govt. of the Philippines, 23 May 2020).