Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
December 11, 2012
Tropical cyclone Bopha made landfall in the Philippines on December 4, sweeping across the southern islands and affected 26 of the Philippines’ 80 provinces. Winds of up to 210 kilometres per hour have triggered flash floods, landslides, and widespread damage to homes and farms.
The total population affected is currently estimated at over five million people, including 450 who have died and a further 500 missing. A total of over 28’000 houses have been damaged and almost two thirds of those are reported to have been destroyed. Over 200’000 people are currently staying in evacuation shelters. Many more whose houses were damaged have sought shelter with friends and relatives.
“Bopha, like tropical cyclone Washi almost exactly a year ago, hit a region where typhoons are not very common,” says Celso Dulce, CARE’s Philippines representative and disaster risk reduction advisor. “The people and local authorities were therefore less prepared. The provinces that have received the most damage and the most number of casualties are also the provinces where environmental degradation is very extensive, due to large-scale mining and logging activities.”
In many areas, water and sewage systems have been severely damaged. The water is no longer safe to drink or even use for bathing or washing dishes and clothes. Food and water supplies in affected areas are strained, and there is especially not enough available to those staying in evacuation shelters. Reaching the hardest-hit areas continues to be difficult as some roads and bridges have been destroyed by the floods and landslides.
CARE is preparing to respond, working with local partners to provide emergency shelter materials, sanitation supplies, and food and water for people in evacuation centres and in isolated communities, and improving the risk reduction capacities of communities.
About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters.
Photo: In this area, the bridge was washed out last year by tropical storm Washi. People were using a raft but this was destroyed by Bopha. This tramline was actually installed to carry construction materials across the river, but people are now using it as well. CARE has begun to build a hanging bridge here, which will allow people to cross safely again. Credit: CARE