On 14 December 2015, Typhoon Melor struck Northern Samar, moved westward across Luzon island, exiting through Occidental Mindoro and finally dissipated over the sea west of the Philippines on 19 December 2015. Melor caused 42 fatalities, destroyed more than 98,000 houses and damaged over 180,000 others. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 2,372 classrooms in 420 schools and 39 health facilities were damaged. In addition to damage to infrastructure, agricultural assets were also affected amounting to PHP 4.3 billion (CHF 89 million). Melor left a trail of devastation with the worst damages felt in the provinces of Northern Samar, Sorsogon and Oriental Mindoro.
Furthermore, as Melor moved northwest it enhanced the northeast monsoon, causing more rains over Luzon. Families in most of the areas affected by the heavy rains were also recovering from Typhoon Koppu, which made landfall in Aurora province in October 2015. Koppu brought extensive flooding over Northern and Central Luzon and in response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched a disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) operation to support 5,000 families over 4 months (October 2015 to February 2016). Click here for the final report of the DREF Typhoon Koppu operation.
Melor was followed by Tropical Depression (TD) Twenty Three, which made landfall over Davao Oriental, eastern Mindanao on 18 December. Typhoon Melor, TD Twenty Three and the northeast monsoon caused heavy rainfall throughout much of the Philippines. Together, almost 800,000 families were affected by the combined effects of the 3 weather systems.
On 22 December 2015, an emergency appeal was launched for CHF 3.7 million. This was subsequently revised on 4 March 2016 to CHF 2.07 million. As of June 2016, contributions to the revised appeal have amounted to CHF 1,693,514 (including allocation from the DREF), covering 81 per cent of the appeal. The operation has so far spent CHF 647,071 or 38 per cent of the contributions.
On behalf of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), IFRC extends its gratitude to all the donors.
Red Cross and Red Crescent action
During the immediate search and rescue phase, PRC supported the pre-emptive evacuation efforts of local authorities and conducted rescue operations together with providing first aid and restoring family links. PRC brought more than 16 persons to safety, provided first aid to 19 people and assisted 24 people in restoring links with their families. PRC also supported pre-emptive evacuations conducted by local officials.
PRC set up 31 welfare desks where PRC also served ready-to-eat meals to some 11,620 persons in evacuation centres while its social workers provided psychosocial support (PSS) to 1,091 people and referral services to persons in evacuation centres.
During the emergency relief phase, PRC deployed five rapid assessment teams. The National Society overall response distributed food packs (comprising 5 kilograms of rice, 4 cans of sardines or meat loaf, and 4 packets of noodles) to 17,270 households. Furthermore, PRC provided households with a combination of non-food items (NFIs) including water storage containers (20-litre jerry cans), sleeping materials (blankets, sleeping mats and mosquito nets), hygiene kits and tarpaulins to up to 12,159 families. PRC also conducted basic hygiene promotion linked to relief distributions, reaching 1,290 people.
For early recovery, the National Society sent three detailed assessment teams to the hardest-hit areas – Northern Samar, Oriental Mindoro and Sorsogon. ICRC also supported detailed assessments in Northern Samar. The detailed assessments supported the revision of the appeal, which focuses on sectors for early recovery of shelter, livelihoods, and water and sanitation. To support PRC in monitoring distributions, assessments and planning for early recovery, the IFRC Philippine Country Office deployed a field delegate. The early recovery operations are now also well underway.