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Philippines: Tropical Cyclone Anticipatory Action

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Anticipatory Action in the Philippines

There is a growing awareness within the humanitarian community of the need to take anticipatory actions to mitigate the effects of predictable shock events. The concept of responding prior to a potential destructive event, if well planned and orchestrated, can mitigate or lessen humanitarian impact and needs.

Approximately twenty tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) yearly, an average of five of these are potentially destructive. In the past, destructive cyclones have caused significant agricultural losses and damages to infrastructure, including schools, markets, houses as well as health, water and communication systems.
The humanitarian consequences of their impact include loss of livelihoods, reduced income, disruptions to education and exacerbation of protection concerns, including GBV.

Building on growing evidence that acting prior to the onset of a predictable, severe hazard is significantly more cost-effective than traditional humanitarian response, OCHA facilitated the setup of a scaled up pilot for anticipatory action with funding support from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). In 2021-2022, the Philippines has been selected as a pilot for the implementation of Anticipatory Action (AA) for Tropical Cyclone with $7.5 M available for a possible activation of the AA framework. The pilot builds on the existing capacity of numerous organizations and networks already working on forecast-based financing while being at the same time deeply rooted in operational realities of responding to typhoons in the Philippines, including COVID-19 compounding effects.

Region 5 (Bicol) and 8 (Eastern Visayas) were selected as the pilot area since they frequently bear the brunt of most destructive typhoons entring PAR, bringing significant damage in terms of wind impact and storm surge.

$7.5M Total AA Funding for 2021-22 (US$)

270.5K Total Target Population

Triggers for activation

The pilot anticipatory action involves setting up a trigger mechanism that corresponds directly to the tropical cyclone hazard and has a direct impact in the targeted regions. The mechanism enables the activation of the framework and release of pre-agreed funds.

The AA for tropical cyclone follows a 2-stage trigger activation:

1. Readiness trigger (pre-activation): 4-7 days prior to forecast landfall

  • Tropical Cyclone with potential to reach category level 4 or higher (greater than 200 km/h maximum 1-minute sustain wind speed).

  • Projected to directly impact areas within Region 5 and 8.

2. Activation trigger: on or before 72 hrs (3 days) prior to forecast landfall

  • As soon as ECMWF forecasts are available for a certain TC, NLRC 510 Initiative will calculate the predicted total number of totally damaged buildings, produce an impact map, and updates every 6-12 hours.

  • Threshold is reached and anticipatory action activated if 72 hours (3 days) before landfall (or sooner) the predicted number of houses to be totally damaged fall within the range of 50% probability that 80,000 houses will be totally damaged to 95% probability that at least 5,000 houses will be totally damaged.

The trigger is based on a set of criteria to help answer the questions when and where to act before the disaster. It provides an advance information when a tropical cyclone can potentially cause severe damage and significant displacement. The agreed trigger mechanism is based on the ECMWF forecast and IFRC/ Netherlands Red Cross 510 probabilistic typhoon impact prediction model developed for the Philippines that is using the ensemble of forecasted tracks and wind speed from high resolution model to predict the impact.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.