Latest Tropical Storm Heads for Philippines as Relief Efforts Continue; USD 45 Million Appeal Launched
Manila – As tropical depression Ulysses developed into a tropical storm by Monday evening (09/11), the International Organization for Migration (IOM)–with government and other partners—continued to provide urgent humanitarian aid across the region.
The storm is headed towards the Bicol region, which is still reeling from the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Goni and Typhoon Molave in recent weeks
On Monday (09/11), the United Nations and humanitarian partners in the Philippines launched an appeal for USD 45.5 million to bring life-saving assistance and protection to hundreds of thousands of people affected by the recent typhoons. Launching the appeal, Gustavo Gonzalez, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, said the humanitarian community is ready to translate “solidarity into concrete support” through a coordinated response, combining emergency relief and early recovery, with support from donors.
According to Philippines state weather bureau PAGASA, Ulysses is projected to make landfall over the Bicol region and Quezon province by Wednesday (11/11). The 21st tropical storm in the Philippines this year, Ulysses comes as much of southern Luzon is recovering from two other storms—Super Typhoon Goni (Rolly) and Typhoon Molave (Quinta)–which left dozens dead and caused extensive destruction across the region. Typhoon Goni struck as the Philippines faced multifaceted challenges, affecting a total of 1.9 million individuals, over 950,000 just within the Bicol region. Currently, some 128,200 individuals remain displaced with 72,500 staying in 744 evacuation sites.
The Philippines has one of the highest levels of COVID-19 transmission in the Asia Pacific region. More than 398,000 cases have been confirmed, of which 29,018 are active. As of 10 November, some 7,674 have died, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Although relatively less affected, Albay reports 990 confirmed and 75 active cases, while Catanduanes has 133 confirmed and 9 active cases.
IOM continues to conduct rapid needs assessments in the most affected provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, and Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, with the support of USAID funding. In addition, assistance from the German Embassy in Manila arrived in Virac, Catanduanes, via the Philippine Coast Guard vessel Gabriela Silang on 7 November.
A total of 244,200 assorted personal protective equipment (PPE) and 500 modular tents have been delivered to help enforce proper COVID-19 protocols in evacuation sites.
“We only see them on television. Now we have ours,” said Jean Triumfante of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of Virac in Catanduanes, referring to the modular tents that were handed over and distributed at evacuation centres in the municipality.
USAID Philippines handed over 300 shelter-grade tarps to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region V to be distributed to most affected displaced communities in the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes.
“We really need to support these communities in rebuilding their homes, building back better, and also getting some livelihood support to them. Cash assistance would be important and, of course, all other kinds of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene support . Psychosocial assistance is going to be very much needed as well. We stand with the government and support you fully,” said Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission.
“Our house is gone, but we’re all alive, so I’m still thankful,” said Maria, a resident of Baras, Catanduanes, who lost her home to landslides brought about by heavy rains from Goni. She and her family are currently staying in a day care centre near their now-levelled house. The modular tents will help families like Maria’s to socially distance themselves while living in displacement sites.
“This was the first time we experienced a storm this strong. We evacuated and stayed with a neighbour a day before the storm, but, when we returned, our house and everything else was gone,” said Grace, a beneficiary in Barangay Sugod, Tiwi, Albay. She and other families have set up their temporary shelters with the tarps they have received.
Psychosocial First Aid sessions are also being conducted by IOM doctors during their assessments in the most affected areas. Priority needs for the province of Catanduanes are shelter (tarps, Shelter Repair Kits (SRK), typhoon-proof core permanent shelters), food, non-food items (clothes, kitchen utensils), hygiene kits, generator sets, cash for work, alternative livelihoods (other than farming), medicines, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and school supplies.
On Sunday (08/11), UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sánchez, and IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey, together with Albay Province Governor Al Francis Bichara, visited ground zero in the municipality of Tiwi where nearly 100 per cent of homes were damaged or destroyed by Goni.
“Seeing the devastating effects of the Typhoon, we express our deep concern for the thousands of families affected by this disaster,” said UN Resident Coordinator Gonzalez.
For more information, please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 917 803 5009, Email: [email protected] , or Itayi Viriri, at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok) at Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email: [email protected]