• Assessments reports from far-flung areas affected by Typhoon Haima continue to come in, with some municipalities incurring damage to 100 per cent of homes.
• The work of local NGO partners on the ground in the Mindanao island provinces are vital to international humanitarian organizations who have little or no access to the area.
• Following the World Humanitarian Summit pledge of the Philippines to pass the IDP bill, House Bill 222 moves along Congress while a new Special Rapporteur for IDPs from the Philippines is appointed.
Typhoon Haima no of IDPs 30,600 no of damaged houses 198,000 (Source: DSWD as of 4 November)
Sulu Displacement no of IDPs 6,371 (Source: DSWD as of 27 September)
Basilan Displacement no of IDPs 25,551 (Source: DSWD as of 27 September)
Zamboanga Crisis no of IDPs in transitional sites 11,545 (Source: Zamboanga City Social Welfare and Development Office as of 24 October)
Typhoon Haima update and unmet needs
Typhoon Haima (locally named Lawin), a Category 4 typhoon, struck the Philippines on 19 October. It destroyed homes, businesses and agriculture, and caused flooding and landslides. At its height, the typhoon displaced over 200,000 people in Regions I, II, III and the Cordillera Administrative Region and left at least 15 dead and 4 people injured. Farmers and fisher folk were especially affected by the typhoon, with millions of dollars in production losses to rice, corn and highvalue crops and fisheries. Typhoon Haima was the twelfth typhoon to pass through the Philippine Area of Responsibility in the 2016 typhoon season and immediately on the heels of Typhoon Sarika (locally named Karen), which also affected parts of central and northern Luzon and caused similar damage to agriculture.
**Pre-disaster preparedness **
In the days leading up to its landfall, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) continuously monitored the risk and developed scenarios concerning the typhoon’s expected paths and potential humanitarian impacts. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), meanwhile, conducted daily pre-disaster risk assessment meetings, activated its preparedness and response clusters, and conducted early evacuation of the population in the most at risk areas. For the HCT to be able to readily respond and support the Government, OCHA collaborated with humanitarian partners and mapped the presence of agencies in the likely affected areas and took stock of in-country relief items that can be readily mobilized. The HCT cluster lead agencies were also advised to reach out to the Government’s cluster counterparts to get a sense of their preparedness actions, plans for response and possible support requirements.
The working groups of the HCT such as Information Management (IM) Working Group, Community of Practice on Community Engagement, Cash Working Group and the Humanitarian Communications Group were also in gear with their respective preparedness measures by providing their networks with timely and life-saving information through social media, flash updates and IM products.
Coordination with Government agencies OCHA was invited to participate in the response planning meeting on 20 October, which was held at the Office of Civil Defense’s Region II office in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan province. At this time, the Humanitarian Coordinator wrote a letter to the Government offering assistance from the international humanitarian community. OCHA, World Food Programme (WFP) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) joined Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDANA) teams from NDRRMC in assessing the impact of the typhoon in towns in Cagayan while a second OCHA team conducted assessments in the provinces of Apayao and Ilocos Norte.
More than 200,000 families (890,000 people) were displaced in Regions I, II, III, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). Most returned to their homes safely after the typhoon passed. Due to the preparedness measures undertaken by national and local authorities, only a dozen fatalities were confirmed, and there were no dire humanitarian needs and assistance can be managed by local authorities with regional and national government support. The Government formally declined the Humanitarian Coordinator’s offer of assistance and has stated that it can manage the effects of the typhoon.
Government response supported by humanitarian agencies
However, the impact of the typhoon is most evident in the destroyed homes and extensive damages to agriculture. As responders are now able to access far-flung areas and assessment reports continue to arrive, a picture of the extent of the impact now becomes clearer. In its latest report, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recorded more than 168,000 damaged and 29,000 destroyed houses. Over 65 per cent of the damaged homes were concentrated in Cagayan and Isabela provinces. Also hard-hit was CAR, where 18 per cent of the overall damaged and destroyed homes were located.
DSWD announced that it will provide PhP5,000 (US$104) to affected families for emergency shelter assistance, and up to P25,000 ($520) toward rebuilding those homes that were destroyed. Shelter Cluster member agencies have so far provided sheltergrade tarpaulins, galvanized iron sheets, and shelter repair kits. Given the high number of damaged and destroyed houses being reported, the Shelter Cluster notes there is still a significant gap in emergency shelter items, particularly tarpaulins and shelter repair kits. As the government has not requested international assistance, humanitarian organizations are confronted with depleted in-country stockpiles and the inability to replenish stocks due to a reduced opportunity to collectively raise funds from donors.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), conducted assessments on the damages to the agriculture and fisheries sector using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. In its assessment report, damages have reached P10 billion ($208 million) with rice, corn and high-value crops suffering the greatest losses.
The agricultural damages will have dire consequence on the livelihoods of many farmers and food security as the typhoon has ruined harvested, ready-to-harvest, and newlyplanted crops. Should DA seek the support of FAO, the agency might only be able to support the provision of seeds and fertilizers due to the constraint in mobilizing resources.
Humanitarian agencies have also received requests from certain national government departments and local governments to support the ongoing response. HCT is seeking guidance from NDRRMC on how to respond to such requests considering that there was no appeal for international assistance and the Government asserted in media interviews that all bilateral requests should be channelled to the NDRRMC to verify the needs and determine if national or regional councils can provide the assistance instead. Per previous practice, humanitarian agencies can directly respond to requests provided that the assistance is mobilized from within the country and the NDRRMC is kept informed.
Unmet needs and ways forward
The Shelter Cluster in its assessment in Cagayan province indicated that damages are concentrated in poor rural communities and also noted that in some municipalities 100 per cent of the houses have incurred at least partial damages. The day after the typhoon struck, some affected residents started rebuilding their damaged homes either by using salvaged materials or purchasing construction supplies from hardware stores which have resumed operations.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.