Typhoon Bopha, locally known as Pablo, hit the east coast of Mindanao in the south of the Philippines in the early hours of December 4. It was the 16th and most powerful typhoon in the Philippines and the deadliest in the world in 2012. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), it affected 6.2 million people and left 1,067 people dead, more than 800 people missing, and close to a million people displaced. More than 216,000 houses were damaged, and key public infrastructure and vast tracts of agricultural land decimated. On December 7, the President of the Philippines declared a state of national calamity and accepted the offer of international assistance.
On 5 December, the NDRRMC and the Humanitarian Country Team jointly completed rapid needs assessments in three regions initially identified as most affected regions. The preliminary findings informed the development of the “Typhoon Bopha/Pablo Action Plan for Recovery” (BAP), which was launched as an addendum to the Humanitarian Action Plan 2013. The BAP requested US$65 million to provide immediate life-saving aid and support to the most-affected communities.
Clusters, led by the Government, conducted further assessments in the following four weeks, forming the evidence base for this revision. The highest priority humanitarian needs are shelter, early recovery and livelihoods, food security and agriculture, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). President Aquino has stressed the importance of a coordinated and community-driven humanitarian response.
While the Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world, typhoons typically pass to the north of Mindanao; the eastern coastal areas worst hit by Typhoon Bopha had reportedly not experienced such a storm for 100 years. Between November 30 and December 4, strategic emergency preparedness actions—such as early warning, pre-emptive evacuation and pre-positioning of stocks—saved lives. The response to the typhoon is being used to further strengthen disaster risk reduction and the Government is committed to the “build back better” principle which was applied following Tropical Storm Washi (locally known as Sendong) which struck north-eastern Mindanao on 17 December 2011 affecting 624,600 people, leaving more than 1,500 dead, displacing 430,500 people and destroying some 40,000 houses.
The humanitarian community will complement government response efforts by supporting (1) immediate, life-saving assistance to people with assessed needs who have been affected or displaced; (2) transitory and permanent shelter solutions to those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed; (3) early re-establishment of livelihoods with a special focus on agriculture; (4) Government and community capacity to prepare for and respond to emergencies; and (5) specific needs of vulnerable groups and people in less accessible areas.
The humanitarian community will adjust its activities as government response planning incorporates the results of the imminent Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). A focus will be placed on community participation and communications, and on advocacy in relation to planning for return and resettlement of the displaced within a human rights framework. Response efforts will take into account cross-cutting issues such as gender and the environment as well as changes in the operational context including, for example, elections in mid-2013.
This action plan reflects a continuing process towards the humanitarian community contributing to government-led preparedness and long-term solutions. A total of $76 million is requested for 46 projects to deliver an integrated programme of support to government efforts in the first half of 2013 in responding directly to the needs of 923,000 most-affected people.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.