FLASH UPDATE: No. 03 – Tropical Storm VONGFONG, Philippines – 16 May 2020


● According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), VONGFONG (locally named Ambo) has slightly weakened as of 1000 hrs and is then maintaining its strength as it continues to move north-northwestward over the West Philippine Sea as reported at 1300 hrs. Tropical Storm VONGFONG is likely to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday (18 May) afternoon.
● The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that as of 1700 HRS UTC+7 15 May:
○ 5,822 families or 23,060 persons were affected in the province of Eastern Samar
○ 288 families or 1,081 persons were preemptively evacuated in the CALABARZON region
○ 9,435 families or 35,489 persons were preemptively evacuated in the Bicol Region
● The Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) issued 24 Emergency and Alert Warning Messages (EAWM) to the public as of 15 May. The NDRRMC maintained the RED ALERT status since the COVID-19 response operations are still underway in the midst of Tropical Storm VONGFONG.
● The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the country’s Vice-Chair for Disaster Response, maintains a response capacity equivalent to USD 23.5 Million. The DSWD also reported that its field offices are in close coordination with local government units (LGU) with regard to any augmentation assistance needed by the affected provinces and that disaster response teams are ready to be mobilized when needed.
● The Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that LGUs affected by Tropical Storm VONGFONG were called on to integrate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols into their contingency plans in response to possible higher risk of transmission in evacuation centers. In line with this, evacuation centers in the Bicol and Eastern Visayas were limited to accepting only half of their capacity and that evacuees be required to wear protective masks.