Monsoon rains exacerbated by Typhoon Usagi (local name: Odette) have caused flash floods and landslides, since the weekend of Sunday 22 September, affecting nearly 600,000 people, leaving at least 30 dead and two missing. The greatest impact of the latest torrential rainfall has been in the province of Zambales, particularly in Olongapo City. Responding to the situation, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deployed emergency response units which rescued 300 people who were trapped, and transported 800 individuals to safer areas in Olongapo City. PRC has served hot meals to some 10,000 people who sought safer shelter in evacuation centres and is currently providing relief assistance, including sleeping materials to 1,000 families in the province of Zambales. Red Cross teams deployed to Olongapo City and other parts of Zambales have completed rapid assessments, and are currently analysing their findings, which will inform further action of PRC.
The flooding in Zambales comes seven weeks after Typhoon Utor (local name: Labuyo) struck the provinces of Aurora, Nueva Ecija and Quirino – prompting PRC to launch a significant operation – followed back-to-back by flooding brought by monsoon rains induced by Tropical Storm Trami (Maring), which affected Metro Manila, its four neighbouring provinces and parts of Central Luzon. To support a scaled-up intervention by PRC, IFRC launched an emergency appeal seeking CHF 1.9 million (approximately USD2 million) to support the delivery of assistance to 75,000 people. Considering several severe weather events are likely to affect the Philippines into 2014, the emergency appeal covers the entire 2013 typhoon season. As such, the response in Zambales may be incorporated into the emergency appeal operation if analysis of the assessment findings indicates the need for a significant response by PRC.