Philippines/South-East Asia: Typhoons - Information Bulletin n° 2

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

This Bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the situation and the information available at this time. The Federation is currently reviewing the situation with regard to the needs of the affected communities impacted by the series of typhoons. It is initially proposed to review and possibly expand the recent Xangsane (Milenyo) Emergency Appeal to include the additional needs resulting from the two most recent typhoons that have affected the same communities within two months.

The International Federation undertakes activities that are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to achieve the Federation's mission to 'improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity'.

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

The Situation

The Philippines has continued to be hit by a series of deadly and destructive typhoons. A month after Typhoon Milenyo (international name 'Xangsane') on 27 September, Typhoon Paeng (GLIDE reference no. TC-2006-000153-PHL) struck, causing the death of 27 people, injured 158 (with 16 still missing) in the provinces of Aurora, Benguet, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya and Quirino.

The super typhoon (category 5) Paeng (international name Cimaron) emerged on Friday 27 October as an active low pressure in the east Bicol Region. It soon developed into a tropical depression and was named Paeng. It intensified into a typhoon on 28 October and made landfall over the southern Isabela province. Maximum sustained winds were 195 kph with gusts of up to 230 kph, recorded on Sunday 29 October 2006. Public Storm Signal 4 (winds over 185 kph) was raised over the provinces of Isabela, Quirino and Nothern Aurora; and Signal 3 (winds between 100 and 185 kph) were recorded over Nueva Vizcaya and La Union.

And on 12 November 2006, yet another typhoon named Queenie (international name Chebi - GLIDE reference no. TC-2006-000162-PHL) affected the same areas as those hit by Typhoon Milanyo and Paeng. Queenie became a category 4 typhoon on 10 November at 6am. On 11 November it made landfall at midnight over the Province of Aurora as a category 3 typhoon with sustained winds of 130 kph. The country's public storm system warning was activated. The eye of the typhoon was 50 km north of Iba Zimbales with winds of up to 150kph.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) continues to monitor the impact of the three typhoons and is undertaking emergency relief operations through its network of chapters. Furthermore, the disaster management service of PNRC has deployed assessment teams to identify the extent of the impact and needs of those affected.

Typhoon Paeng

Reports received from the affected chapters covering 63 municipalities and cities with 729 barangays in 7 provinces show that 65,585 families have been seriously affected. The families were hit directly or suffered from the typhoon's secondary effects: storm surges in low lying area, flooding of rivers and rice paddies, and pools of stagnant water standing after the storm. Reports indicate that 2,605 houses were destroyed and 18,181 damaged in the provinces of Aurora, La Union, Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan, Quirino and Isabela. The typhoon also destroyed crops, means of livelihoods and other buildings such as governmental offices, health centres and schools. Several roads have been blockGed by mudslides, debris and broken bridges.

Several barangays in Aurora and Isabela have been cut off as roads and bridges were destroyed. Roads to Dinalungan, Casiguran and Dilasag were not passable due to river floods.

Within the province of Isabela, roads to the Dinapigue area were cut off due to mudslides, broken bridges. Helicopters provided the only link to the outside world in some cases. The most severely injured were airlifted to Manila.

Major parts of the provinces of Aurora and Isabela are still without electricity. Large areas do not have telecommunications as cellular towers broke down. The worst hit communities are in the seven provinces of La Union, Benguet, Aurora, Isabela, Cagayan, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya.

The capital city of Manila has felt the secondary effects of the typhoon with heavy rains but damage has been limited. It is still raining almost daily and further secondary effects, including landslides, may occur.

Typhoon Queenie

First reports indicate that 10 people have been injured. Initial assessments from chapters in Aurora, Isabela and Nueva Ecija say 4,624 families have had their homes destroyed or damaged. There have also been reports of power outages and roads once again being cut off.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Philippine National Red Cross is still operating its 24/7 Operations Centre and has been monitoring the consequences of the typhoons since the public alert system was raised. The Disaster Management Service has coordinated the collection of information since 27 September. On Sunday October 29 it was once again on high alert and deployed an assessment team on Tuesday 31 October and another one on November 03. The teams are comprised of a leader and experts in relief, health, water and sanitation activities, psycho-social support and logistics. The teams also include members of the South-East Asia regional disaster response team (RDRT). One team was deployed to the Isabela province and the second towards Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. These teams have gathered a comprehensive overview of the damage enabling the PNRC to quickly prepare its emergency response.

The Federation delegation in Manila is closely monitoring the situations and is supporting the activities of the Philippine National Red Cross. At the request of the national society, the delegation has contacted the Federation regional delegation in Bangkok including the support of four RDRT members to integrate into the PNRC assessment teams. This team arrived in Manila on November 02 and left the capital on November 03 to join the assessment teams already deployed 12 hours by road north of Manila.

A rapid visual assessment by helicopter was made on 04 November to support the teams on the ground in Isabela province. It was noted that the municipality of Dinapigue was 90 per cent destroyed. Public buildings, houses, and crops have been blown away. PNRC is providing first aid.

The assessment teams dispatched for typhoon Milenyo and Paeng have made recommendations, which have been incorporated into plans of action. The operation for typhoon Milenyo is underway. In the province Sorsogon there is an on-going distribution of construction materials for the reconstruction of Nipa houses. 500 families from 11 barangays will benefit from this distribution. The next phase is to provide hygiene kits, plastic mats, mosquito nets blankets cooking stoves, cooking sets and food.

Thus far PNRC has distributed food to 6,525 families in the provinces of Benguet, La Union, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela and Aurora. The typhoon Panang plan of action is being revised.

Now with typhoon Queenie, the PNRC is also preparing relief supplies to be distributed to families in the barangays of Dibulo and Digomased where an estimated 300 families have been evacuated within the Municipality of Dinapegue. However, initial actions have included the establishment of a tent camp in the city of Calamba, one hour south of Manila, set up in three days from 08 November to 11 November to accommodate 87 families. The camp's capacity is 300 families. The ICRC provided two emergency water storage bladders, one for 10 000 litres and one for 5 000 litres. The camp is managed by the city administration, which is finishing constructions of latrines, showers, cooking and laundry facilities.

PNRC maintains coordination with the authorities through its full membership of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) as well as the various coordinating councils at provincial level (PDCC).

The impact of Typhoon Queenie is not yet fully known. Reports are still coming in from chapters and assessment teams. Those teams deployed for typhoon Paeng have now reported back to national headquarters and have presented their recommendations for the provinces of Aurora and Isabela, which include:

Province of Aurora: As an interim measure, it is recommended to provide non food-items to Casiguran and Dilasag for 444 families in 34 barangays. The items identified are shelter repair kits, corrugated sheets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, blankets, plastics mats, and hygiene kits. The estimated cost of the project, including monitoring of the market situation, is estimated at CHF 98,000. The costs will need review and consolidation. There are still relevant products available on the market however the food supply chain has been disrupted because of bad road conditions. There is a possible depletion of food reserves and access to cash may become difficult as cash crop production has been 70 per cent destroyed. The suggested market monitor would take place around December 15 to review the situation.

For the long term, the local chapter should put programmes in place to institutionalize primary health care and community initiatives as well as Project 143, which aims to develop a core group of 43 trained volunteers in each bagarangay to support PNRC disaster response and longer term activities. Chapters should also strengthen the capacities of the local community through trainings and the barangay disaster action team (BDAT).

Province of Isabela: The municipality of Dinapigue is the most affected. 1108 families have lost their homes, means of production and resources. The communications system is down. Livelihoods from agriculture and fisheries have been destroyed. Families have no alternative sources of income. Two saw mills and one mining company are inoperable. Structural damage is in some instances 90 per cent destroyed. As most of the roads are not passable, the first relief items were brought in by helicopter. However, airborne support is not available any more. The families are living in makeshift shelters or in unstable, damaged houses. Coconut and banana plantations have been wiped out. Corn and root crops have also been destroyed. The products from the rice harvests in October have been damaged. About 60 bancas (motorized fisher boats) have been destroyed so access to fishing is difficult.

For the short term it is recommended to bring in food for at least one month. After that a review will determine if future support is necessary. The first part of the plan is to distribute rice, tins of sardines, and packs of noodles, coffee and sugar. The second part is to bring in items, such as shelter materials (CGI, shelter repair kits), kitchen sets, blankets, plastic mats, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, to enable the population to reconstruct their lives and homes. The families with only partially damaged homes would receive a scaled down version of the materials (ie CGI, Shelter repair kit, hygiene kit). They would receive full food support.

In the longer term, institutionalize Project 143.

The overall estimated cost of the project is about CHF 190,000 for Dinapigue. The final cost will be consolidated after reports of a PNRC construction engineer, who was sent to Dinapigue on Monday 13 November.

As the findings from the ongoing assessment of Typhoon Queenie are finalised a final review of the overall needs to support the communities of the three successive typhoons will be undertaken and a revised plan of action will be presented in the current Tyohoon Xansane Emergency Appeal.

Map: Philippines: Typhoon Chebi - Situation map

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

- Philippine National Red Cross: Corazon Alma De Leon( secretary-general); email hls@skyinet.net; phone: +63.2.527.0854; or Benjamin Delfin II , DMS manager; email benjamindelfin@yahoo.com; phone: + 63.2.444.0103

- Federation country delegation in Philippines: Roger Bracke (head of delegation);email: roger.bracke@ifrc.org; phone +63.917.880.6844; telefax:+63.2.524.3151

- Federation Southeast Asia regional delegation in Thailand: Bekele Geleta (head of regional delegation;) email bekele.geleta@ifrc.org; phone + 66.2.661.8201 ext 100; Alan Bradbury( regional programme coordinator); email: alan.bradbury@ifrc.org; phone +66.2.661.8201; or Michael Annear( head of regional disaster management unit);email: Michael.annear@ifrc.org; phone + 66.2.661.8201

- Federation Secretariat in Geneva (Asia Pacific department): Gert Venghaus (regional officer); email: gert.venghaus@ifrc.org; phone: + 41.2.730.4258; fax:+ 41.22.733.0395; or Sabine Feuglet (senior assistant); email: sabine.feuglet@ifrc.org: phone:+ 41 22.730.43.49 ; Fax:+ 41.22.733.0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org