Tropical Storm Washi, known locally as Sendong, triggered massive flash floods and flooding in the early hours of 17 December 2011, causing devastation in Northern Mindanao Region more commonly associated with tsunamis. According to the latest government reports, 1,470 people have died and 1,074 are unaccounted for; and nearly 2,020 have been injured. An estimated 624,600 people are affected with 430,500 people displaced from their homes. The cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on the north coast of Mindanao were the most severely hit, with more than half of the currently displaced taking shelter in these two cities.
While the Philippines is one of the most natural disaster-prone countries in the world, a tropical storm and accompanying flash floods, flooding and landslides of this magnitude are very rare in this region. Not only were the residents unaccustomed to such a disaster, the storm struck with such devastating consequences that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council announced Washi as the most destructive of the 19 tropical cyclones to hit the Philippines in 2011.
The Government immediately mounted a major emergency rescue, evacuation and response operation. The early implementation of the cluster system in Northern Mindanao led by the Office of Civil Defence has succeeded in ensuring a mechanism to coordinate the activities of the various levels of the government, UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
Provision of shelter, food, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, medical and psycho-social services, protection, restoration of key infrastructure, debris clearance, rebuilding of lost livelihood and coordination were the immediate priorities. While the needs of the displaced people in evacuation centres have taken priority until now, equal focus is being directed to providing shelter solutions to those who lost their homes. Cluster members have also alerted that high levels of vulnerability could persist in the rural and remote storm-affected areas that have not yet been reached by relief due to logistical constraints.
In light of the developments in the humanitarian situation and Government priorities, the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) led by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator decided to review its planned actions so that its support to the Government is well targeted and complementary to their efforts. The revised plan aims to support the affected people to rebuild their homes and livelihoods while also ensuring that basic needs are met.
This Emergency Revision of the Mindanao Humanitarian Action Plan has been extended for an additional three months until mid-June 2012, and seeks US$ 39 million to achieve its objectives. It comprises 46 projects in 13 key sectors, submitted by ten UN agencies and 13 NGOs. The revision represents a 37% increase in requirements compared to the initial Appeal of $28.6 million. Taking into account funding received of $10.4 million, the revised Appeal is 27% funded, leaving an unmet requirement of $28.6 million.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.