In less than two weeks the Philippines has been hit by two typhoons. These have devastated the country, destroying homes, forcing mass evacuations, and wiping out entire livelihoods. The effects of the typhoons have intensified an already critical situation, as the Philippines has one of the highest levels of Covid-19 transmission in the Asia Pacific Region.
Super Typhoon Goni hit on 1 November bringing torrential rains, violent winds, mudslides and storm surges to the Philippines’ largest island of Luzon. Homes were destroyed, leaving 83,000 people displaced and evacuation centres well over full capacity. Goni damaged an estimated $234 million USD of the country’s infrastructure including 67 health facilities, the government’s main Covid-19 laboratory and over a thousand schools.
On 11-12 November the island of Luzon faced Typhoon Vamco, leading to further displacement and increased hardship for the already vulnerable population. The effects were felt in the densely populated capital city of Manila and surrounding regions. Government figures indicate that an additional 300,000 are displaced, 67 have died and many are injured or missing. Dozens of towns and villages have been ravaged by flood waters up to 12 metres deep, leaving houses submerged and tens of thousands with no choice but to evacuate.
With evacuation centres overwhelmed, local government units have asked for immediate life-saving assistance from the international humanitarian community. The most urgent needs include emergency shelter for those who have lost their homes and are currently displaced, sanitation and hygiene facilities to minimise the spread of Covid-19 in overcrowded evacuation centres, essential health services, and food provisions. In the longer-term, support is needed to help families restore and establish livelihoods destroyed by the typhoons.
Our humanitarian team have been monitoring the situation since Typhoon Goni hit, and are in close contact with our local partner, the Citizens Disaster Response Centre (CDRC). We have launched a targeted emergency response in partnership with CDRC to meet significant unmet humanitarian needs. We are providing emergency relief within the Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon, areas battered by the typhoons. This includes food packages and hygiene kits, which will alleviate families’ immediate needs whilst they start to recover.
We will also run an early recovery livelihood project in the Cagayan Valley. This area faces its worst flooding in 40 years. Damage to crops has wiped out entire livelihoods, so our project will focus on agriculture. Activities will include providing shelter repair kits, farm tools, seed distribution, and the provision of fishing gear for those in coastal areas.
How can you help?
You can donate to our Disaster Fund today, to ensure that when an emergency like this one hits anywhere in the world, World Jewish Relief can respond rapidly and effectively.