The Philippines has been seeing a succession of disasters since December 2019 that have so far affected about 5.7 million people across the country. Overall these have taken a significant toll on the capacities of the government and other actors to support the affected population. All three major island groups have been hit: typhoon and volcanic eruption in Luzon, typhoon in Visayas, and earthquake in Mindanao. Across these areas, it has been difficult for affected people to restore their assets particularly their homes and livelihoods. The government estimates that almost USD 2 million worth of agriculture has been affected and economic losses of more than USD60 million, and the situation is not expected to improve very soon.
In early December 2019, Typhoon Kammuri (local name: Tisoy), a Category 4 typhoon made landfall in the Bicol Region in Southern Luzon, that affected 1.9 million people with 558,844 damaged houses.
There were no casualties which reflects the preparedness measures of the local disaster units in the region. However, agricultural and infrastructure damages were significant at almost USD120,000 during the time when farmers, are getting ready to plant. Bicol Region experiences several typhoons in a year that asset losses may be minimal each time but chronic, making it difficult for them to recover entirely.
On 15 December, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit several provinces in Mindanao with its epicentre in Davao del Sur. The region experienced earthquakes and aftershocks since October, several of which were above 6.0 in magnitude. About 394,355 people have been affected with 35,698 still staying in temporary shelters. 45,085 houses were reported as damaged. Immediate assistance has been provided but there have been fewer humanitarian actors supporting the affected population on shelter and provision or restoration of livelihoods.
On Christmas Eve, less than ten days after the 6.9 magnitude earthquake, Typhoon Phanfone (local name: Ursula) hit Visayas and made its first landfall in Salcedo, Eastern Samar. The typhoon followed a similar path as typhoon Haiyan in 2013, affecting 3.2 million people with 38,410 people in temporary shelters and around 530,696 houses damaged. It was a Category 2 typhoon that peaked at 150km/h with about 24 municipalities declaring a State of Calamity, most of it in the province of Aklan.
On 13 January 2020, Taal Volcano in the province of Batangas erupted that caused ashfall as far as Metro Manila. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued an Alert Level 4 warning soon after the eruption. 14 municipalities in Batangas have issued orders to evacuate and residents are not allowed to return to their homes or only for a limited time. Places have become ghost towns as people have been forced to evacuate after ashfall made the towns unliveable and unsafe. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 96,061 people have been displaced. By 15 January, PHIVOLCS announced that a major eruption might happen as short as few days or as long as a few years. About half a million people will be potentially directly affected by the eruption. As many as 648 volcanic earthquakes have been felt around Taal volcano, with many more still recorded to date. Economic losses have been estimated at USD60 million already while still anticipating for the major eruption, as the provinces of Cavite and Batangas are producers of agricultural cash crops.
A compilation of the ongoing assessments and assistance for this emergency can be found here: https://reliefweb.int/disaster/vo-2020-000002-ph