Philippines: Landslides and Floods Appeal No. 03/04 Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief

Period covered: 7 January 2004 to 26 May 2005;

Final appeal coverage: 99.5%.

Appeal history:

  • Launched on 07 January 2004 for CHF 853,000 (USD 692,989 or EUR 544,144) for 06 months for 565 beneficiary families;

  • Operations Update No. 1 of 7 April 2004 revised the appeal budget to CHF 378,148 and 300 beneficiary families (including 140 houses for the shelter component);

  • Operations Update No. 2 dated 13 May 2004 extended the appeal timeframe to August 2004;

  • Operations Update No. 3 dated 31 August 2004 extended the appeal timeframe to February 2005;

  • Operations Update No. 6 dated 9 February 2005 extended the appeal timeframe to end of March 2005;

  • Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 50,000 (reimbursed).
Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Philippines Typhoon Emergency Appeal 28/04, Southeast Asia Regional Appeal 05AA057

Background and summary

The monsoon rains that afflicted the Philippines - one of the world's most disaster-prone countries -- for much of December 2003 severely affected five municipalities in the province of Southern Leyte and four provinces in the Caraga region of Mindanao island, leaving 174 dead. Of the affected provinces, Southern Leyte, with a population of 350,000 occupying 17 municipalities and one city, was worst hit, suffering the highest number of casualties and houses destroyed. This area of the Philippines is among the most remote and inaccessible in the country, with poor roads and limited transport and communications links. On 19 December 2003, the heavy rainfall triggered three major landslides in the province, affecting twelve barangays (villages) in three municipalities of Liloan, San Francisco and San Ricardo. Flooding also occurred in the municipalities of Pintuyan and Malitbog and the capital city of Maasin, with more than 1,000 families (over 5,000 people) worst affected in these stricken areas.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) immediately responded to the situation by conducting search and rescue operations, emergency feeding, relief distribution and needs assessment. Rescue and response teams were also mobilized to assist in evacuation and transfer activities and distribute emergency food to those affected by both flooding and landslides. The speed and professionalism of PNRC's disaster management machine -- together with the government and other local agencies -- were highlighted through the very short relief phase when the national society's rapid response teams were able to provide more than 1,000 families (some 5,570 individuals) with food, medicines and non-food commodities, including mosquito nets, blankets, mats and kitchen utensils, from existing stocks. Counselling was also provided to the affected families.

The Federation allocated CHF 50,000 from DREF (this has been reimbursed) that enabled PNRC to take further expeditious action in the disaster zone.

With the immediate food and non-food needs sufficiently covered, the humanitarian focus centred on longer-term imperatives in the three worst-hit municipalities of Liloan, San Francisco and San Ricardo. Complementing government and non-government efforts in addressing the post-disaster requirements of the affected population, the Federation launched an emergency appeal on 7 January 2004 to support PNRC on rehabilitation -- shelter, water and sanitation, livelihood projects and community-based disaster management training.

Within the extended appeal timeframe, PNRC completed 140 houses and provided agricultural tools to the affected families in the San Ricardo municipality, Southern Leyte province. Selected community members also benefited from disaster management training to become better prepared for future disaster. The German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) assumed the water supply objective in the appeal and provided safe water access to the beneficiary families.

Since the early onset, the Southern Leyte operation encountered a number of implementation challenges. These challenges centred on the safety, availability, suitability and accessibility of the original site, weather hazards and a complex task force structure involving a significant number of local government partners and the PNRC. It has also proven to be very ambitious , aiming to complete the construction of 140 houses in eight months, given no available land at the time and limited enthusiasm from the beneficiaries themselves about relocation.

At the onset of 2005, more than a year after the disaster happened, the Federation's regional delegation sent a representative to meet with the PNRC leadership to resolve the outstanding issues. The board of governors of the PNRC signed an agreement to ensure the completion of the shelter project by the end of March 2005. The agreement stipulated that the national society would return the full costs of the project if the timeframe could not be met. This expedited the completion of the operation within the next two months.

The PNRC has extensive disaster response capacities and successful experience in shelter projects in the country. The operation, however, highlighted gaps in its capacities and knowledge of Federation's systems and procedures. The national society was going through a transition period during the course of the operation. The management of the operation was not properly structured in the beginning, while the demise of the experienced disaster management focal point and the dynamics of partnership with the local authorities contributed to the delays of the operation. The operation also reflected the shortfall of Federation's technical support structure since the departure of the designated relief/reporting delegate. The appropriateness of launching this emergency appeal was also put to question as there were no expressed needs from the national society.

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