Philippines: Tropical Storm Tembin (MDRPH026) DREF operation update n° 1

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

As Tropical Storm Tembin (local name: Vinta), aims to exits Philippine landmass, the trail of destruction it has left is emerging. Latest information indicates that Tembin has caused dozens – potentially hundreds – of fatalities, damaged thousands of houses, washed away vast amounts of livelihoods and disrupted the lives of people mainly in northern and central parts of Mindanao Island in the Philippines.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Tropical Storm Tembin made landfall in Cateel, Davao Oriental, on Friday 22 December 2017 afternoon packing maximum winds of 90 kilometres per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 125 km/h. The tropical storm then continued across Mindanao, tracking over the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Norte. It weakened before re-intensifying late Saturday, 23 December, and is now threatening southern parts of Palawan. In a bulletin issued at 17:00h local time on Saturday, PAGASA indicated that Tembi was packing maximum winds of 90 km/h and gustiness of up to 115 km/h.

According to a report issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s – Fifth DROMIC Report on TS Tembin – as of 23 December 2017 morning the following had been recorded:

• 18,177 families or 72,592 persons are affected in 312 barangays in Regions MMAROPA, X, XI, and CARAGA

• A total of 12,768 families or 50,362 persons are currently staying inside 211 evacuation centres in Regions MMAROPA, X, XI, CARAGA

There are reports of widespread flooding as the major rivers breached their banks. There have also been several reports of flash floods and landslides. Initial reports indicate that at least 106 people have lost their lives, i.e. 47 in Zamboanga del Norte, 36 in Lanao del Norte, 18 in Lanao del Sur, and 5 in Bukidnon. Dozen are missing, with the number of fatalities likely to increase. Confirmed numbers are expected in the coming days as the public authorities verify information being received from the affected provinces.

Government agencies and local responders – including from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) – are currently undertaking search and rescue operations. Photos shared by rescuers on social media show rampaging, mud-brown floodwaters sweeping down a highway in Lanao del Sur province, engulfing houses and a van, and people seeking refuge on the upper floors of their homes. There are reports of widespread flooding in Cagayan de Oro, one of Mindanao's largest cities, as well as in Zamboanga City. In Davao City, hundreds of families were evacuated their homes on Friday 22 December night as a major Bankerohan river overflowed, flooding several barangays affecting some 31,000 families.

The situation continues to evolve and more information should emerge in the coming days. What remains clear is that there is a need for a substantial humanitarian response to help meet the immediate needs of affected communities. Already, some of the affected provinces have been placed under a state of calamity, mainly to allow local government units to utilize budget allocations for immediate response.