When launching the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities document on 24 December 2021, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) committed to review the strategic direction of the response commensurate to the evolving needs on the ground within four to six weeks.
As access to affected areas became increasingly possible and response activities were scaled up, the InterCluster Coordination Group (ICCG) and the Mindanao Humanitarian Team (MHT) continued using a hybrid approach in gaining an overview of priority needs and gaps across most affected areas. This overview builds on the Consolidated Rapid Assessment Report released on 20 December and intends to inform the HCT’s collective recalibration and adjustment of response planning.
ICCG and MHT, together with partners on the ground, used the multi-sectoral Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) and Debriefing forms for data collection. Where possible, this approach included a combination of key informant interviews, focus group discussions and direct observations by humanitarian partners on the ground, as well as the collection of secondary data through satellite imagery1 , available government reports and social media accounts. OCHA compiled and consolidated individual reports to identify priority humanitarian concerns and geographic areas.
Between 20 December 2021 and 23 January 2022, UN agencies, international and local NGOs and foundations shared over 70 rapid needs assessment reports with data from Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X,
BARMM, and Caraga.
Eight years after Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most destructive storm to ever hit the Philippines, Super Typhoon Rai brought similar torrential rains, violent winds, mudslides, floods and storm surges to central parts of the Philippines, leaving a wide path of destruction and debris in its wake. While not as powerful as Haiyan in terms of wind strength, evidence shows that Rai damaged houses, infrastructure and livelihoods on a comparable scale or in even greater numbers. Most striking, Rai damaged 1.57 million homes, 500,000 more than Haiyan, across 11 of the Philippines 17 regions, with around 180,000-200,000 people still displaced – either still in evacuation centers or staying with friends, family or other temporary housing.
People across affected areas were already coping with increasing poverty, unemployment and a roll-back on development gains following two years of the pandemic. Their resources are now depleted and local coping capacities are severely strained. One bright spot amid Rai’s destruction compared to Haiyan was the significantly lower number of casualties, which is thanks to pre-emptive measures undertaken by communities and Governments. Rai was nevertheless the second deadliest natural disaster of 2021.
The initial assessment reports underestimated the full extent of the damage. As of 20 January, the number of assessed damaged houses has increased to 1,570,240 houses, a massive increase on the initial estimates of around 60,000 houses damaged or destroyed in the original assessment report. Of these, 423,492 are completely destroyed with the most affected provinces are Cebu, Bohol (region VII) and Surigao del Norte (region XIII) accounting for 61% of destroyed homes. When the analysis is expanded to include pre-crisis vulnerability based on poverty, urban/ rural, typology2 and weighted building damage severity3 the areas of greatest concern for shelter are Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte (Caraga), Southern Leyte (region VIII) and Bohol (region VII).
In region VI, Negros Occidental had the highest level of damaged and destroyed houses, however the overall situation seems slightly less severe than in other regions, with also a high level of Government support.
Further assessments and analysis in the province is recommended to better understand prioritization of needs.
In Palawan, government reports have shown 77,000 houses are damaged or destroyed which housed over 385,000 individuals with extensive damage to livelihoods. However, Palawan has one of the highest rates of Government support by municipality.
Overall, this suggests that those areas of regions VII, VIII and XIII remain the highest priority in terms of severity of damage.
However, the damage from the Typhoon goes well beyond the direct impact to housing and sanitation facilitates, to disruptions to livelihoods, infrastructure and massively increased protection risks in the most vulnerable communities. The Level II and III water systems in the six most affected regions affected by the Typhoon are not functioning due to sustained infrastructure damage or limited power. As a result, many households still use open springs, possibly contaminated hand pumps, for drinking and domestic use. Over 220 health facilities have been damaged, and access to others is disrupted, further complicated by the severity of the covid-19 outbreak over the past month.
In terms of impact to the agriculture sector, the damage and losses report from the Department of Agriculture (DA) as of 18 January 2022 showed that the total value of damages and losses is at over US$261 million, with 533,709 farmers and fishing communities and 462,766 hectares of agricultural areas affected.
The impact of Typhoon Odette on the education of children already deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is enormous. Affected learners in all affected regions are roughly 2 million, and affected personnel remain large: in Caraga alone 5,562 of 7,106 (DepEd, 21 January 2022). School rehabilitation and reconstruction will require PHP17.771 billion (US $347 million), according to the Department of Education.
Partners issued a preliminary assessment on labor and employment indicating that almost 2.2 million workers are estimated to have been directly impacted by the Typhoon. The Typhoon directly affected around one-fifth of all workers in each of the three most impacted regions: Western Visayas (21 per cent), Eastern Visayas (19.3 per cent) and Central Visayas (18.8 per cent). The devastation risks exacerbating pre-existing labour market challenges for various vulnerable groups.
Across all affected regions, understanding and assessment of complex protection concerns related to disability, GBV, sexual and reproductive health and other vulnerabilities, especially among adolescents, girls and women, and other vulnerabilities remain under-assessed. Based on the report from the Philippine National Police Regional Women and Children Protection Desk CARAGA, there is a potential increase in GBV.
From December 18 to January 7, there were 29 cases reported, but the PNP believes that this is underreported especially in areas where Barangay VAWC desks were affected. Moving forward, additional focus is required on a protection-focused, comprehensive package of support to identify and help the most vulnerable, and to complement Government efforts where resources are strained. The top response priorities are shelter, WASH, protection, including HLP issues, child protection and GBV, health and food security and livelihoods. In addition, the pace of planning for early recovery needs to increase to address long-term disruptions in many areas.