Tropical Storm Washi, known locally as Sendong, made landfall in the southern Philippines on December 16, 2011, resulting in flash floods and landslides, particularly affecting northern Mindanao island. To date, the storm and associated flooding have affected more than 724,700 people across 13 provinces. As of January 4, the death toll had reached 1,257, with 98 people identified as missing, according to the Government of the Philippines (GPH) National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). More than half of all confirmed deaths occurred in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities in Northern Mindanao Region.
Health workers have reported an increased number of suspected cases of leptospirosis—a bacterial infection caused by exposure to contaminated water—in evacuation centers in affected areas. Relief agencies and local health officials have increased disease surveillance activities and highlight the need for decongestion of the most crowded of sites.
The number of people residing in temporary evacuation centers continues to decrease as families return to their areas of origin or seek shelter with relatives, according to the NDRRMC. As of January 4, nearly 37,300 people were staying in 54 evacuation centers—30 percent fewer than the number of individuals in centers on December 29.
According to the U.N., all individuals in evacuation centers in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities are receiving food, health, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance, as well as emergency relief supplies. Relief agencies are providing similar support to affected individuals with host families and in make-shift shelters in affected areas.
As of January 4, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) had provided nearly $1.7 million in assistance for storm-affected populations in the Philippines, including nearly $1.2 million in shelter assistance, more than $309,000 for WASH activities, and $200,000 for logistics support to aid the delivery of relief to flooded communities. USAID/OFDA also deployed its Principal Regional Advisor for East Asia and the Pacific to the Philippines to conduct damage and needs assessments in affected areas, in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Manila, USAID/Philippines, the NDRRMC, and relief agencies.