Two Action Against Hunger emergency teams have mobilized today to make the first rapid damage assessment in Metro Manila and Rizal Province. Typhoon Vamco, with sustained winds of 155 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 255 km/h, has made landfall on the island of Luzon, causing heavy flooding.
It arrives to the island only 15 days after the super-typhoon Goni. This year’s typhoon season (October-December) is one of the most severe in recent decades in the archipelago.
“This disaster comes just two weeks after super-typhoon Goni wiped out the livelihoods and homes of nearly two million people in the southeast of the same island. It is enormously complex for authorities and humanitarian organizations to respond to two emergencies simultaneously, and more so in a context of COVID-19, which has reduced the funds available to respond to human crises. Despite the enormous progress made by the country [the second most disaster-prone country in the world] in terms of prevention, and the advances in alerting and evacuating the population, saving lives, aid is still very much needed to ensure water, shelter and food for people displaced from their homes, explains Benedetta Lettera, geographic manager of Action Against Hunger for the Philippines.
“The challenges to aid are also enormous in terms of the protection needed in a pandemic context. The work of rebuilding infrastructure and livelihoods also needs sustained post-emergency support,” she adds. It is estimated that this year the La Niña phenomenon, directly related to the climate crisis, could cause three to six typhoons to hit the archipelago before the end of the year.
No water in the area affected by super-typhoon Goni
Action Against Hunger is intervening since the first moments of the emergency in the area affected by the super-typhoon Goni. Tropical Storm Goni (Rolly in its Philippine name) entered the country’s zone of influence on October 29 and became a super-typhoon before making landfall in Bato (Cantaduanes), where it reached sustained winds of 225 km/h and peaks of up to 280 km/h. Access to safe water is a major concern: the impact of the typhoon has led to the disruption of the distribution line and the provincial governments of Albay and Camarines Sur are deploying water tanks in the affected communities. “Families who are not reached by the tankers are desperately looking for water, as in the flooded barangays most of the water pumps and taps are still submerged in the water. And once the flood waters recede, they will need to be treated,” explains the Hunger Action Team deployed in the area.
We have been working in the Philippines since 2000 and have deployed emergency interventions following numerous natural disasters in the country such as typhoons and earthquakes, including the 2013 Haiyan super-typhoon.