Typhoon Phanfone (locally named Ursula) made initial landfall in Salcedo, Eastern Samar, as a category-2 typhoon on the evening of 24 December, subsequently making seven landfalls overall as it traversed the central archipelago. It displaced over 145,000 people and affected more than 2.1 million people in over 2,500 barangays (villages) in Regions V, VI, VII, VIII and MIMAROPA and Caraga, with the majority (1.4 million people) of the affected coming from Region VIII (Eastern Visayas).
Nearly 60 per cent of the displaced took shelter in 654 evacuation centres, with more than 60,000 people staying with host families or in open areas.
The heavy to sometimes intense rain and strong winds caused locally significant damage, with an estimated 406,000 damaged houses, out of which over 104,000 are registered as destroyed. In addition, 400 schools, 100 public structures, and 30 health facilities were damaged, according to the latest National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reports. Waist deep flood waters were reported in Panay, Pres. Roxas, and Pontevedra in the province of Capiz, while large waves and storm surges destroyed homes and washed away fishing boats along coastal communities such as Lawaan and Salcedo in Eastern Samar. Water supply systems were also damaged, affecting sources of potable water. Communication and power lines are still being restored in remote rural areas, affecting some water services and interrupting market and livelihood activities.
It is estimated that the damage to infrastructure and agriculture is at over PhP1 billion (US$21 million) in Regions V, VI, VII, VII and MIMAROPA. The Department of Agriculture report that the majority of agricultural losses are in the fisheries sector, where damage to fishponds, fish cages and pens, fishing boats and seaweed farming is impacting food security and the livelihood of over 43,000 fisherfolk in Region V, VI, VII, VIII and MIMAROPA. Government agencies continue to verify the numbers and assess the extent of the damage caused by the typhoon.
Government response and humanitarian coordination
The national government is leading the response, with the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, together with local authorities, coordinating relief distribution and providing food and other relief assistance to affected communities, which to date is valued at P35.8 million ($705,000). In total, 12 cities and municipalities, San Jose in Occidental Mindoro, Kablog and Malay in Aklan, Sigma in Capiz, Carles and Concepcion in Iloilo, Madridejos in Cebu, Borongan City and Tacloblan City and Samar, and the provinces of Eastern Samar, Leyte and Samar, have declared a State of Calamity, enabling them to tap locally budgeted emergency funding.
On 28 December, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an emergency appeal for CHF2 million ($2 million) to support the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to deliver assistance to 20,000 people for 12 months, with a focus on the following sectors: shelter, livelihoods and basic needs, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), protection, gender and inclusion (PGI), migration, community disaster preparedness and risk reduction.
The private sector under the auspices of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation provided food assistance, medical and relief supplies, and mobile calling and charging stations. Faith-based organizations are assisting members by providing refuge and relief assistance in their churches. Humanitarian partners with programmes on the ground are conducting initial damage assessments in affected areas and have identified food, potable water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and shelter materials as priority needs of affected families. With crops washed out and fisherfolk unable to resume fishing, livelihoods have also been interrupted and affected communities will need assistance rebuilding their homes and recovering from production and economic losses.
OCHA, on behalf of the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team, remains in contact with national authorities and ready to support should that be required.
For more information, contact:
Mark Bidder, Head of Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +63 917 174 3536
Gina Maramag, Public Information Officer, email@example.com, Mobile: +63 917 174 3546
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.