Philippines: Tropical Storm Kai-tak Information Bulletin n° 1

This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Philippine Red Cross, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has determined that external assistance is not required, and is therefore not seeking funding or other assistance from donors at this time, but will continue to monitor the evolving situation

The situation On 12 December 2017, a low-pressure area in the south-east of the Philippines has developed into a Tropical Depression named Kai-tak (locally Urduja). The tropical depression moved north-northwest, and by 14 December was reclassified as a Tropical Storm. On 15 December 2017, TS Kai-tak remained off the east coast but had slightly intensified, with maximum sustained winds of up to 75kph and gustiness of up to 90kph.

Kai-tak remained almost stationary off the coast of the Eastern Visayas region and continued to bring moderate to heavy rain across the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions as it slowly moved towards land. Kai-tak kept its slow pace and eventually made landfall on the afternoon of 16 December 2017 over San Policarpio, Eastern Samar.

Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 2 was raised over Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Romblon,
Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Aklan, Capiz and Northern Iloilo. TCWS No. 1 was raised over 16 more provinces/areas. Kai-tak made six more landfalls across central Philippines. Kai-tak was downgraded to a Tropical Depression on 17 December 2017. However, the weather disturbance still brought winds and moderate to heavy rain over Bicol and Visayas regions. As of 18 December 2017, Kai-tak is located 195km east northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is expected to move westward, outside Philippines and the coastal areas on the morning of 20 December 2017. All TCWS have been lifted, except for the province of Palawan which is under TCWS No. 1.

Kai-tak brought heavy rain which triggered floods and 17 landslides in the Eastern Visayas region. In some areas in the province of Samar, as much as two-months’ supply of rain poured over a 24-hour span. Tacloban City in Leyte was put under state of calamity on 15 December 2017 due to floods. The municipality of Naval in Biliran province was also put under a state of calamity due to landslides. Reports by the Presidential Spokesperson on 18 December 2017 stated that 31 people were killed and 49 others missing after the onslaught of Kai-tak, which battered Eastern Visayas. Out of which 23 of the fatalities were from Biliran due to landslides in four municipalities of the province.

As Kai-tak approached, the Philippine government ordered the pre-emptive evacuation of families in the likely affected areas in Eastern Visayas. More than 4,000 families were evacuated. As of 17 December 2017, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 50,000 families were affected in Region V (Bicol Region), Region VI (Western Visayas), Region VIII (Eastern Visaya) and CARAGA, of whom some 48,000 families were from Region VIII. Moreover, some 20,000 families (of which almost 12,000 families are from Eastern Samar province), were housed in 264 evacuation centres. As of 18 December 2017, less than half of the evacuation centres are still open.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ weather bureau is currently monitoring another tropical depression outside the south-east of the Philippines. Said depression has been downgraded into a low-pressure area but is still likely to bring more rain to the Kai-tak affected areas.