December 2015 saw the Philippines affected by the combined effects of Typhoon Melor (local name Nona), Tropical Depression Twenty Three (Onyok) and the North East Monsoon rains enhanced by the two tropical systems. The combined result of these weather disturbances caused significant humanitarian needs spanning the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. From 14 through 15 December, Typhoon Melor struck Batag Island in Northern Samar, moving westward across Sorsogon (Luzon), Masbate, Romblon, Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. The weather system tracked across western Luzon, finally dissipating on 19 December 2015.
Red Cross and Red Crescent action
PRC has been on the ground, responding to the immediate needs of affected people, in line with its mandate outlined in Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009. Initially, the National Society supported pre-emptive evacuation efforts of local authorities and conducted rescue operations, bringing more than 16 persons to safety, providing first aid to 19 people and assisting 24 people to restore links with their families. Furthermore, PRC served ready-to-eat meals to some 19,957 persons in evacuation centres while its social workers provided psychosocial support to 466 people and referral services to persons in evacuation centres through 31 welfare desks.
During the period under review, the National Society prioritized distribution of food packs (comprising 5 kilos of rice, 4 tins of canned sardines or meat loaf and 4 packets of noodles), safe drinking water, household water storage containers (20-litre jerry cans), sleeping materials (blankets, plastic mats and mosquito nets), hygiene kits and tarpaulins as well as conducting hygiene promotion linked to relief distributions. In this regard, as of 6 January 2016,
PRC had reached at least 9,400 families across seven provinces – Bulacan, Masbate, Oriental Mindoro, Northern Samar, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Sorsogon – with relief assistance. Of the non-food items distributed, quantities for 6,000 families have been provided by IFRC, with additional items for up to 3,000 families planned.