At a Glance
16M PEOPLE IN SEVERELY AFFECTED AREAS
2.4M PEOPLE IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE
840K PEOPLE TARGETED FOR ASSISTANCE
70 NUMBER OF ORGANIZATIONS
$169M FUNDING REQUESTED
Foreword by the Humanitarian Coordinator
Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator
Just six weeks ago, Super Typhoon Rai, locally known as Odette, made its first landfall on 16 December 2021, bringing torrential rains, violent winds, floods and storm surges to the Visayas and Mindanao Islands. Overnight, the Typhoon left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands of families homeless. Initial reports showed devastation across many areas of the impacted regions, but it is only over the subsequent weeks that the full scale of damage has come to light. Our initial assessments only hinted at the scale of destruction – nearly 1.7 million houses damaged or destroyed, massive damage to infrastructure, agricultural land, fishing communities and livelihoods across a vast geographic area of the country. In total, the Typhoon severely affected an estimated 9.9 million people across the six worst hit regions, leaving about 2.4 million people in need of assistance. More than a month on nearly 144,000 people remain displaced, and many more are living in damaged shelters with little access to basic services.
I congratulate the Government of the Philippines for their preparedness activities and for their response. The effectiveness of the pre-emptive evacuation of over 800,000 people and clear early warning messaging saved many lives.
Despite a massive and rapid response by the Government and local civil society, the needs are tremendous. People require safe, temporary shelter and repair kits to rebuild their homes. Many of them still require food, potable water and medicines. People need access to sanitation and hygiene facilities. Planned pilots for school reopening have come to a halt, with damage to hundreds of educational facilities. Many people have lost their livelihoods and will require immediate assistance to avoid falling into more critical need. At the same time, Covid-19 has again surge over the past weeks, affecting both disaster-affected people and responders, slowing the response and further burdening an already disrupted medical system.
As the scale of the disaster became clear, the Humanitarian Country Team and partners have worked tirelessly to scale up our efforts and to expand our response to new areas and evolving needs. Coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and its operating body, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), has been critical to timely harmonize operations in the field. Support from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has also remarkably facilitated the work of the HCT.
In line with the Government’s priorities, the HCT plans to increase their target from 530,000 to 840,000 people, and to expand our areas of operation to the worst affected areas of Bohol and Cebu in Region VII, in addition to ongoing work in the worst-affected areas of CARAGA and Region VIII from December 2021 to June 2022. We will also continue to address critical gaps in other areas of Region VI, including Negros Occidental and in Palawan. We hope that the world will continue to extend its support to expand these critical efforts, including the need to further support local Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as the backbone of this response. I am mindful of the need to show our commitment to strengthen local response mechanisms with people at the center in all of our plans.
We all are aware that disasters like this disproportionally affect the most vulnerable in our communities, including children, women and girls, women and child-headed households, people with disabilities, older people, LGBTIQ persons and indigenous peoples. As such, the HCT is committed to integrate the protection needs of these groups, including their discrimination and exposure to sexual and gender-based violence (GBV), as well as their protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) in the response.
Even as we remain in the midst of the critical emergency phase of the response, we are working to build the foundations for early recovery and reconstruction to mitigate any long-term impacts on lives and livelihoods in affected regions, where data from ongoing Post-Disaster Need Assessment will help the Government and international financial institutions set the path for recovery. We will work closely with our Government counterparts to learn lessons on how better to align preparedness, disaster risk reduction, humanitarian and development action. We will also ensure that the impacts of climate change are accounted for as we work to rebuild and rethink our approach to dealing with storms and disasters to build a more resilient and sustainable future.
Together with the HCT, I remain committed to augment the Government’s relief efforts and stand in solidarity with the people of the Philippines.
1. Situation Overview
Making its first landfall in the afternoon of 16 December 2021, Super Typhoon Rai, locally known as Odette, brought torrential rains, violent winds, mudslides, floods and storm surges to central-southern Philippines, specifically the Visayas and Mindanao Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 195km/h and gustiness of 260km/h.
Contrary to predictions, Rai intensified from a tropical storm to a super typhoon within hours before making landfall. Super Typhoon Rai made nine landfalls in seven provinces, first approaching Siargao (Surigao del Norte) with maximum sustained winds of 195km/h before heading on with similar intensity to Cagdianao (Dinagat Islands), Liloan and Padre Burgos (both in Southern Leyte), President Carlos P. Garcia and Bien Unido (both in Bohol), Carcar (Cebu), La Libertad (Negros Oriental) and Roxas (Palawan). Rai exited the Philippines Area of Responsibility on 18 December as the strongest storm to hit Mindanao in 10 years and the 3rd ever strongest recorded storm in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Government of the Philippines made significant efforts to protect people and infrastructure, leveraging the investment made since Typhoon Haiyan in improved early warning systems and reinforcing the important leadership role of local officials. The effectiveness of the Government’s pre-emptive evacuation of 235,865 families or 826,125 persons to evacuation centers ahead of landfall saved many lives.
The impact of Typhoon Rai is spread across several islands with diverse geographic characteristics and limited resilience. While storms typically make landfall in the southern parts of Luzon or the eastern part of the Visayas, Rai struck regions further south, which do not typically experience the brunt of typhoons. Southern Leyte, one of the worst affected areas, was previously ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013. Affected are also the economic hub of Cebu as well as several tourist spots in Siargao and Bohol.
On 20 December, the Government declared the state of calamity in Region IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, X (Northern Mindanao) and XIII for a period of one year. The declaration provides authorities with access to emergency funds and the ability to reprogram other funds for disaster response activities. At the same time, the Government accepted the Humanitarian Country Team’s offer of assistance in augmenting locally-led response efforts commensurate to the needs on the ground.
National and local authorities rapidly mounted search, rescue, emergency relief and road clearing operations as soon as weather conditions improved. Humanitarian partners with pre-existing agreements with line ministries quickly supported local response efforts.
The Typhoon severely affected an estimated 9.9 million people across the six worst hit regions, leaving about 2.4 million people in need of assistance. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Typhoon killed at least 409 people, injuring thousands and cumulatively displacing nearly 3.2M people, of whom around 144,000 remain displaced, and many more are living in damaged shelters with little access to basic services.
With Regions XIII (CARAGA), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), VIII (Eastern Visayas) and IV-B (MIMAROPA) most affected, government reports and rapid assessments suggest that communities in the provinces of Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Southern Leyte, Bohol and Cebu bore the brunt of the Typhoon. Subsequent assessments have shown severe damage to housing and shelters, worse than initially projected also across other provinces, including Negros Occidental in Region VI, and Palawan in Region IV-B.
As of 20 January, the number of assessed damaged houses has increased to nearly 1.7 million houses, a massive increase on the initial estimates of around 200,000 houses damaged or destroyed in the initial assessments. Of these, 415,000 are completely destroyed with the most affected provinces being Cebu, Bohol (Region VII) and Surigao del Norte (Region XIII) accounting for 61 per cent of destroyed homes. When the analysis is expanded to include pre-crisis vulnerability based on poverty, urban/rural, typology1 and weighted building damage severity2, the areas of greatest concern for shelter are Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte (Caraga), Southern Leyte (Region VIII) and Bohol (Region VII). While houses made from light materials were hit the hardest, the Typhoon was so strong at landfall that it also destroyed and damaged houses built with concrete.
The damage from the Typhoon had a profound impact on infrastructure and basic services. While electricity services are being restored, many locations remain without power and 76 municipalities still have limited access to communications for voice and data even six weeks later. Thirty-six per cent of seaports are not operational, increasing logistics challenges for small islands and geographically isolated areas. As assessments continue, the Government expects that it may take several months to restore essential lifelines.
The Typhoon compromised access to safe water and sanitation facilities, heightening the risk of communicable disease outbreaks. Many affected people are now subsisting on springs and hand pumps for water, many of which are reported to have been contaminated by flood and sea waters. Many families whose homes have been totally or partially destroyed are reported to lack access to adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities and materials. Those in evacuation centres – many of them schools – are living in congested conditions with limited access to adequate WASH facilities that meet COVID-19 health standards.
At least 220 health facilities have been damaged, and many are running at limited capacity with lack of fuel, medicines and supplies, even as a new wave of Covid-19 is affecting many areas.
Learning continuity is at high risk in the affected areas, which face more obstacles to reopen the schools that have remained closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic. Thirty-six schools had already started in-person classes in Regions VI, VIII, IX and CARAGA and more were preparing to reopen in February 2022. The typhoon has reversed the reopening process, increasing the levels of learning loss already caused by school closures and the risk of permanent drop-outs, neglecting children’s right to education. Over 4,000 classrooms have been destroyed and 2 million children’s learning has been disrupted, compounding the impact from Covid-19 measures.
The Typhoon will have a profound and long-lasting impact on the ability of the most vulnerable to support themselves in the short to mid-term. Livelihoods have been lost, particularly of those who depend on farming or fishing to make a living. 462,000 hectares of agricultural land has been affected, impacting food security and livelihoods in ways that may take months or even years to recover.
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. Of the total affected workers, nearly 839,000 (38 percent) are women and likewise young people and older workers face distinct age-related employment challenges.
Protection and Community Engagement
The Typhoon has exacerbated vulnerabilities. Prior to the Typhoon, many of the cities and municipalities in the worst affected provinces already had a high poverty incidence, categorized as 2nd to 6th class.
Indigenous communities residing in affected areas are particularly poor, malnourished, and lack access to public services, including health care.
Protection risks, including gender-based violence, human trafficking, and other risks have dramatically increased, especially for boys, girls, women and for other vulnerable groups. In evacuation centres there are risks of GBV due to lack of privacy and lack of separate bathrooms. Protection needs remain under-assessed and under-addressed in most areas, with a need to mainstream protection into all elements of the response. People with disabilities are particularly at risk and should be consulted and supported to access basic services.
It is of vital importance to engage with and serve affected communities. Affected people need to be kept informed about available services and aid. Gender equality and the diversity of affected communities have to be addressed when engaging the community. Without access to reliable, timely, accurate information, affected people are unable to make the choices necessary to recover from the disaster and regain their livelihoods.
In the month since the Typhoon, the Philippines has seen a major surge of Covid-19, driven primarily by the Omicron variant – with weekly case numbers going from a one-year low of 833 in a weekly average for the week of 13 December, to an all-time high of 273,600 cases in the week of 19 January.3 The Philippines has about approximately 52 percent people vaccinated. Many people remain at high risk of hospitalization and increased morbidity. Lagging hospitalization and deaths from Covid-19 infections mean that the worst impact of the current surge on the health system is still ahead. The spread of Covid-19 has had a double impact on the response – first on those still in shelters, with damaged housing, or in areas where health care facilities are damaged are more at risk of the impact of Covid-19. Second, with large numbers of first responders and humanitarian actors falling sick, there have been disruptions to the continuity of operations, further slowing the response. Increase in travel restrictions and other measures to slow the spread have knock-on effects on the ability of the humanitarian community to reach those most in need.
In addition to the serious public health consequences, the negative economic impact of the pandemic likely reduces the resiliency of people and their ability to bounce back from losses to private properties and livelihoods. In 2020, measures to contain the pandemic triggered a 9.6 per cent economic contraction, the highest across members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the Asian Development Bank. In 2021, the Philippine economy is forecast to rebound and grow by 4.5 per cent. The economic recovery is pending the steady progress in vaccination leading to greater mobility of people and the reopening of businesses, which on the downside risks the resurgence or renewed escalation of the pandemic.
The way forward
The Government is leading the response through the NDRRMC and related emergency response mechanisms. Humanitarian partners in the country – the United Nations (UN), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the private sector - are augmenting national and local authorities with the typhoon response, building on established partnership agreements and relationships strengthened over years of collaboration.
Scaling up humanitarian support is increasingly urgent. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), La Niña is bringing above normal rains to affected areas, particularly to Leyte and Southern Leyte. To avoid any further hazardous weather exposure, illness and harm to already affected communities, it is important that people are able to restore their homes and livelihoods as quickly as possible and within the next six months before the most active typhoon season between June to September.
The Humanitarian Needs and Priorities document asks for US$169 million to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs for six months. The level of priority has been based on results of Government and HCT assessments, particularly damage to homes and infrastructure.
The document prioritizes life-saving and protection programmes, focusing on most vulnerable groups, including displaced persons, host communities, indigenous groups and other affected people. Combining poverty indicators and severe wind strength exposure, the document targets at least 840,000 people in the worst affected areas in CARAGA and Regions VII and VIII, as well as in other hard-hit regions.