Emergency assistance to the victims of successive typhoons in the Philippines

Situation Report
Originally published
Amount of Decision: Euro 800,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/PHL/BUD/2004/02000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale:

On 28 November 2004, torrential rains provoked by typhoon Winnie caused major damage to human life, houses and infrastructure in the Provinces of Aurora, Quezón and Nueva Ecija, on the eastern coast of the Island of Luzón. This area had previously been hit by tropical depression Merbok (locally referred to as Violeta) on 22 November and by typhoon Muifa on 14 November, although the main impact of the latter was further to the south in the Provinces Mindoro Oriental, Palawan and Camarinas Sur. Finally, on 2 December, typhoon Nanmadol hit the area for a third time further increasing the damage. Typhoon Nanmadol's impact was weaker than what was initially feared because of the high speed with which it crossed the island of Luzón.

Whole villages and towns have been inundated with lethal flood waters carrying devastating quantities of mud and timber from the highland areas. Vast tracks of previously populated land now lie under mud, uprooted trees and timber and other debris. Thousands of landslides scar hill sides and have destroyed all in their paths.

The combined damage caused by this accumulation of disasters has not yet been fully assessed, not least because some of the Provinces affected are among the most difficult to access in the country. Initial damage assessments carried out by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) and the National Disaster Coordination Council (NDCC) report between 420 (NDCC) and 600 (PNRC) dead while some 500 individuals are unaccounted for. These figures are growing as more areas become accessible. PNRC estimate that some 1,010,766 people have been affected, some 29,000 houses have been totally destroyed and a further 83,949 houses partially damaged. Approximately 90,000 people are reported to have been evacuated (NDCC). There has also been extensive damage to essential infrastructures (roads bridges, water and electrical supply). The Government has declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Aurora, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Nueva Ecija and Quezon and in the town of Roxas in Mindoro Oriental.

1.2. - Identified needs:

An ECHO rapid reaction mission has been deployed to the Philippines, has visited the most affected areas in the Provinces of Quezón and Aurora and has met with the most relevant donors and humanitarian agencies. The mission identified the following needs as the most relevant for this Decision to cover:

- Water and sanitation. Damage to water and sanitation facilities together with limited presence of health workers in the affected areas and lack of health facilities increases the risk of outbreaks of water and vector borne diseases. In order to avoid this, safe water supply needs to be ensured through immediate distribution of fresh drinking water and water purification tablets on a first phase and through the rapid repair of water supply and sanitation facilities in a second phase. Measures addressing those already affected by diarrhoea such as distribution of Oral Rehabilitation Salts will also be put in place.

- Food and nutrition. The PNRC reports that the provision of food assistance to affected families, particularly in areas to which access is difficult, is still limited in spite of the assistance already provided by both the Government and Local Government Units.

- Non food items. Basic household items are needed for families who have been evacuated or have seen their houses and assets totally or partially destroyed. These include items such as cooking kits, family kits and cooking fuel. They also include agricultural inputs such as seeds and tools.

- Temporary shelter is needed for families having lost their houses and not evacuated into Government centres.

1.3. - Target population and regions concerned:

The target population will be some 200,000 in the worst hit provinces of Quezón (125,000) and Aurora (75,000). Within these provinces, the most affected areas are concentrated around Central Quezón (Municipalities of Infanta and General Nakat) and Southern Aurora (Municipalities Dingalam, Casiguran and Dilasag and some other villages in the highland areas). The municipality of Real in Quezón, although affected, is not included, as response efforts from the Government and other donors are already concentrated there.

In addition to being affected by the typhoons, these areas have been selected because of their isolation (and therefore limited access to the Government's emergency assistance) and their vulnerability in terms of poverty (and therefore greater difficulty to recover from the disaster impact).

During the immediate relief phase, which comprises the first three weeks, little distinction will be made among the victims in terms of the type of aid provided, as this would slow down the distribution process to an unacceptable level. Following this phase, the beneficiaries will be targeted giving priority to child and women headed households; landless, displaced or people living next to eroded rivers; elderly persons and disabled persons.

1.4. - Risk assessment and possible constraints:

There are two main Some of the affected areas have not yet been properly assessed. Future assessments could result in the identification of needs not covered by this Decision. Should this be the case, additional humanitarian aid might be neededfactors for consideration:

- Ongoing conflict in Aurora province between the Government of the Philippines and the National People's Army, a maoist insurgent group, might make it difficult to deliver humanitarian aid if the conflict escalates in the future.

2 - Objectives and components of the humanitarian intervention proposed.

2.1. - Objectives:

The principal objective of this Decision is to save and preserve the life of the population of the Philippines affected by successive typhoons. The specific objective is to assist approximately 200,000 victims of the typhoons with integrated relief and small-scale rehabilitation support.

2.2. - Components:

Immediate relief activities

The impact of the typhoons has either displaced or isolated the population of many of the affected villages, which have lost access to essential supplies/services for human life such as food, water and health. Immediate relief activities are aimed at addressing the most serious threats to the life of the beneficiaries coming from the disruption of the water and health services and the lack of access to food. They will take place during the first weeks of the implementation of the Decision and include the following:

- Distribution of survival packages and of dry and cooked food. Special food packages will be also distributed for babies.

- Distribution of drinking water, water purification tablets, soap and oral rehabilitation salts together with hygiene promotion activities.

- Distribution of non food items including basic household items and plastic sheeting.

- Provision of temporary shelter.

Small-scale rehabilitation activities

Activities funded under the decision will also address the rapid repair of essential infrastructure to human life that has been damaged by the typhoons. These include:

- Rapid repair of tube wells and sanitation facilities damaged by the successive typhoons.

- Rapid rehabilitation of rural infrastructure such as foot bridges in order to facilitate access to isolated affected villages.

- Contribution to the repair of damaged houses.

- Seeds and farming tools distribution.

3 - Duration expected for actions in the proposed Decision.

The duration of humanitarian aid operations shall be of 6 months Expenditure under this Decision shall be eligible from 2 December 2004. If the implementation of the actions envisaged in this Decision is suspended due to force majeure, or any comparable circumstance, the period of suspension will not be taken into account for the calculation of the duration of the humanitarian aid operations. Depending on the evolution of the situation in the field, the Commission reserves the right to terminate the agreements signed with the implementing humanitarian organisations where the suspension of activities is for a period of more than one third of the total planned duration of the action. In this respect, the procedures established in the general conditions of the specific agreement will be applied.