Philippines

Philippines: Landslide OCHA Situation Report No. 3

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2006/19
OCHA Situation Report No. 3
The Philippines - Landslide

This situation report is based on information provided to OCHA by the UN Resident Coordinator's Office, the Philippines Office of Civil Defense, the Philippines National Disaster Management Center and the IFRC

I. SITUATION

On 17 February 2006, at 10 a.m. local time (02:00 GMT) a landslide hit the village of Guinsaugon (estimated population 1,400) near the town of St. Bernard in Southern Leyte Province. The village was hit by a second landslide at approximately 10 p.m. local time (22:00 GMT) the same day. The second landslide resulted in the evacuation of eleven surrounding villages as a preventive measure. The Philippine Geosciences Bureau estimates that the landslide is 4 metres deep and covers an area of approximately 3 square kilometres.

As of 8:00 a.m. local time today, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) reports 56 fatalities, 20 injured and 410 survivors. 1,408 people are still missing, including 253 staff and students of the local school.

A 'no fly zone' has been declared around Guinsaugon due to concerns that helicopter downwash could trigger additional landslides. This has further complicated access to the site. The landslides have also blocked tributaries of a major river which could cause flooding in nearby areas. Weather in the area is cloudy but no rain was reported at the site today and rain is not anticipated in the coming days contrary to previous weather forecasts.

II. NATIONAL RESPONSE

The Government has deployed 796 personnel to support to the rescue and relief operations. Rescue teams from the Philippine's Air force and Army have been undertaking search and recovery operations since 17 February. The Government has deployed two search and rescue vessels, 2 navy vessels which also serve as hospital platforms, 2 C-130 airplanes, 5 helicopters and 2 generators.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already distributed 600 family food packs and has an additional 1,500 family food packs and 2,500 clothing packs on standby. The Department of Health (DOH) has provided 116 body bags, lime powder, IV fluids and assorted drugs with a value of PhP 2.1 million. A ten-person trauma team has also been deployed by the DOH.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have provided earth moving equipment such as pay loaders, backhoes, bulldozers which have made the town of Saint Bernard accessible.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Institute of Vulcanology have fielded geo-science personnel to assess hazards in the area in efforts to enhance preparedness and early warning for other areas vulnerable to landslides.

The Philippines National Red Cross Society has deployed 70 personnel to the area including an assessment team, health teams, 2 dog teams, and personnel to provide psycho-social assistance and assist with communications. They have also provided two generators sets and a water dally which were transported to the site today along with assorted vehicles, including ambulances, 16 sacks of rice and Php 70,000.00 worth of canned goods.

On 17 February, the Philippines National Red Cross Society provided 100 family tents, 300 blankets, 5 cartons of water purification tablets and 700 body bags. An additional 26,000 lbs of medical supplies were sent to the site yesterday. The International Federation of the Red Cross provided an emergency grant of CHF 200,000 to the Philippines National Red Cross Society for emergency relief supplies. The International Federation of the Red Cross has also launched an emergency appeal for CHF 2 million.

The National Resource Operation Center (NROC) has been set up by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Pasay City. The NROC has been functioning as DSWD Operations Center to facilitate processing of donations and coordinating all efforts of member agencies of the National Committee on Disaster Response (NCDR) and other private individuals and organizations.

III. INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE

UNICEF has provided health kits and essential medicine for 10,000 persons. OCHA has provided an emergency grant of $50,000 and UNDP has mobilized an additional $100,000 for immediate response.

Five of the 6-member United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team have arrived in country three of whom are currently are en route to St. Bernard to assist in on-site coordination at the requested of the Government. Other members have been deployed to assist the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the UN Resident Coordinator. Telecomms Sans Frontieres (TSF) has deployed a two-person module to support the UNDAC Team.

US Forces have sent two ships with 17 helicopters and 1,000 marines to the area to assist in damage and needs assessments and search and retrieval operations. Two Malaysian C-130 aircraft with 60 members of the Malaysian Search and Rescue and Medical Team (SMART) with heavy equipment have arrived in Tacloban airport en route to the site. A Taiwanese rescue team equipped with heat and movement sensing equipment is at the site to assist in search and retrieval operations.

The Japanese Government has agreed to donate emergency supplies and equipment. The Government of Australia has pledged A$1 million for immediate relief and medical assistance which will be made available to the Philippines Red Cross Society and other relief agencies to assist with the immediate task of evacuating survivors, setting up shelter and trauma counseling as well as meeting the basic needs of food, clothing and emergency items.

IV. PRIORITY NEEDS

The results of the Philippines Office of Civil Defense-led assessment that was deployed to the site yesterday are being consolidated. These results, and those of other assessments currently underway, will form the basis of prioritization and resource mobilization for the relief operations that are already ongoing.

The Government of the Philippines is prioritizing ongoing search and retrieval operations and emergency relief for the victims as well as those evacuated from neighboring villages who are currently residing in 7 evacuation centres. Effective coordination of relief efforts has been emphasized.

The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council in Southern Leyte has indicated following needs for immediate relief:

- Food Items: 500 sacks of rice, 500 cases of canned food, 250 boxes of noodles, 12,000 liters of bottled drinking water, 15 bottles of coffee (30 grams), 15 boxes of Milo (200 grams) and compact foods.

- Non Food Items: 3,000 hygiene kits (towels, toothbrushes, and toothpaste), 500 bars of family size bath soap, and 500 bars of laundry soap.

- Kitchen Utensils: plastic plates, forks, spoons, glasses.

- Bedding: mosquito nets, blankets mats and beds.

- Medical Supplies: body bags, masks, disinfectant, essential medicine and chlorine.

- Shelter: tarpaulins.

- Search and Rescue assets: generators, ambulances, bulldozers, and fork lifts.

- Human Resources: social workers, medical doctors and rescue personnel.

In parallel with the relief efforts, the Government plans to intensify disaster preparedness in the surrounding areas and other regions vulnerable to landslide and flood during heavy rains.

V. REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE

The Government of the Philippines welcomes international assistance but has not issued a formal request.

This situation report, together with the information on contributions and other ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

Tel.: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only:

Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Ms. Merete Johansson
direct Tel. +41-22-9171694

Ms. Megan Gilgan
direct Tel. +41-22-9171558

Press contact: (GVA)

Ms. Elizabeth Byrs
direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653

N.Y.

Ms. Stephanie Bunker
direct Tel. + 1-917 367 5126

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.