Tropical Storm Bopha
Geneva, 4 December 2012
1. Brief description of the emergency and impact
Tropical Storm Bopha (local name: Pablo) has made its landfall over Baganga, Davao Oriental, Philippines at 4:45 am on Tuesday, 4 December 2012.. Bopha brought two destructive forces: strong winds and heavy rains. Estimated rainfall is around 15-30 mm per hour within the 600 kilometre diameter of the typhoon. Public storm warning signals have been hoisted in different parts of Visayas and Mindanao. Bopha’s winds are expected to be three times stronger than Washi which devastated Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, Philippines in 2011. It is expected to be 180 km southwest of Roxas City by Wednesday morning, 230 km northwest of Puerto Princesa City by Thursday morning and 780 km west of Metro Manila by Friday morning. 8,283 families or 41,608 persons are now living in 53 evacuation centres.
According to OCHA, there are still 8,049 people in transitory sites in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City as a result of tropical storm Washi in 2011. Now Bopha is following almost the same path and at the same time of the year. The areas affected by Washi have still not been fully rehabilitated and now facing threat of further damage. The National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) has posted the need for communication equipment, tents for command posts, hygiene kits, breast feeding stations, cooking equipment, emergency lights/flashlights, water containers, inflatable beds with pumps, clothing, thermos and water bottles with filters.
In Hinatuan and Surigao del Sur areas where Bopha has already landed, the public market has been partially damaged. Information is limited, as the typhoon has caused massive power outages and the mobile communication satellite is down due to the strong winds and heavy rainfall. According to initial assessments families living on five island villages have been moved to safer grounds/evacuation centres. At least 1,951 families or 9,755 individuals from 24 villages are now in three major evacuation centres and other smaller ones such as schools. Flooding on the mainland, particularly in the heart of the municipality, has reached waist-deep.
The water surge has destroyed the abalone culture farms and fish cages. The seaweed farms were also reportedly destroyed but the magnitude has not yet been established. Similarly, destruction of houses and other livelihoods in these island villages remains as yet unknown. The local government is looking for additional resources to support the recovery and rehabilitation stage.
2. Why is an ACT response is needed
Members of the ACT Philippines Forum: the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Christian Aid (CA), United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Lutheran World Relief (LWR) are already operational in the areas affected (same areas as 2011 cyclone Washi) and are well placed to respond once assessments have been carried out.
3. National and international response
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine National response teams are on standby for possible deployment. NDRMMC’s member agencies have already pre-positioned search and rescue and relief items, drugs and medicines and have emergency standby funds. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has allocated stand-by funds amounting to Php 3.7 million (around US$ 90,400) and pre-positioned relief supplies amounting to Php 38 million (around US$ 929,000). OCHA is organizing joint assessment teams that will be deployed in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Dumaguete, Samar, Leyte, Surigao and the rest of the Caraga region. The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has contingency stocks of sleeping mats, blankets, jerry cans, mosquito nets and hygiene kits for 15,000 families.
4. ACT Alliance response and planned activities
ACT Philippines forum members are in constant communication while gathering data from assessment teams in Visayas and Mindanao. The forum agreed to go for a joint alert prepared by the Lutheran World Relief (LWR), using the information available so far. The focus will be on the areas where the ACT appeal was implemented in response to cyclone Washi in 2011. LWR will conduct a rapid assessment on 6 – 7 December in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur to determine relief and early recovery needs. An ACT appeal will be forthcoming. LWR will most likely propose cash transfers/cash for work initiatives.
Gathering field information has been a challenge since the typhoon arrived less than 24 hours ago. Over 80 flights to and from Visayas and Mindanao were cancelled, and many areas in Mindanao remained inaccessible due to falling debris and trees. LWR cancelled its scheduled project visits to Surigao del Sur and Cagayan de Oro for safety reasons. Power outages and disruptions of mobile communication lines in Compostela and parts of CARAGA posed communication issues between LWR Philippines and local partners.
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