Situation Overview and Impact
Ground assessments are beginning to provide clearer picture of the impact of Super Typhoon Goni (local name Rolly) as it cut a swathe across the country, ripping off roofs, causing floods and destruction, and affecting the lives of over 24 million people in its track.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that as of 6 November, 1,197,888 people (312,583 families) across 7 regions were directly affected by the typhoon. More than 165,000 people or 33,000 families are in 1,714 evacuation centres in Regions NCR, II, III, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol and CAR based on the latest government report. As more than 21,000 homes were destroyed it means many families will remain in long-term displacement. According to government reports, over 226 schools were partially or totally damaged by the typhoon, while 869 schools are being used as evacuation centres, providing shelter for over 82,500 people. The NDRRMC has validated 22 deaths and three persons still missing as of 6 November.
According to the Local Water Utilities Administration, pumping stations and transmission lines in Catanduanes were damaged and need checking before they can be rehabilitated, while several technical teams deployed from nearby regions are providing service and assistance to the worst-hit areas, like Albay, to restore power. Around 90 per cent of the residents of Tiwi, Malinao and Tabaco in Albay as well as the province of Catanduanes continue to experience loss of power and mobile signals. In the most-affected parts of Catanduanes, it may take months to reconnect essential lifelines.
Assessments indicate that local markets are by now largely functioning and operational, despite the damage to some infrastructure, and local authorities are encouraging responders to provide cash as a modality of aid. Key immediate needs of most affected population include: food assistance, cash or food for work, shelter repair kits, repair of WASH facilities and distribution of hygiene kits, restoration of power and communication facilities, and psychosocial support and protection.
Goni exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility on 3 November, coinciding with the entry into the Philippines Area of Responsibility of another tropical storm, Atsani (local name Siony), affecting extreme northern Luzon particularly Batanes and Babuyan Islands.
Compounding effects on COVID-19
The Department of Health (DOH) strongly reiterated its call to local authorities to designate safety officers in evacuation centres and implement preventive measures as congested evacuation centres are considered high risk areas for virus transmission. According to DOH, six health facilities in Albay and Camarines Sur provinces are partially damaged but remain functional and another two local hospitals were damaged in Tabaco City in Albay and San Andres in Catanduanes. Bicol region currently has 512 active cases of COVID-19.
Government preparedness and response
The Government of the Philippines made significant efforts to protect people and infrastructure ahead of the storm, leveraging the investment made since Haiyan in improved early warning and underlining the leadership role played by local officials. Pre-emptive evacuation and other significant early action preparations included prepositioning of stockpiles and standby funds as well as advising early harvesting to protect the income of farmers.
The Department of Budget and Management assured the availability of $75.2 million in calamity funds. The Department of Agriculture, through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, allotted $12.3 million as indemnification for 32,761 farmers in Bicol region.
Around $550,000 in assistance has been distributed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to affected people as of 5 November. DSWD continues to extend relief assistance in affected regions. More than 4,737 food packs were distributed to the provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon. Rolls of laminated sacks are currently in transit. Likewise, 3,000 food packs, 1,000 hygiene kits, 2,000 kitchen kits, 450 sleeping kits, 450 mosquito nets, 3,944 350-ml mineral water and 400 20-liter containers of bottled water had arrived in Catanduanes via Coast Guard vessel. DSWD continues to coordinate with the Logistics Cluster of the NDRRMC to ensure quick delivery of assistance to affected populations.
DOH will conduct a Rapid Damage Assessment of the hospitals and other health facilities in affected areas and will provide mental health services and psychosocial support to personnel directly affected by the typhoon, as well as augment staffing to ensure continuity of critical healthcare services.
The Department of Public Works and Highways is clearing closed roads. A price freeze is in effect in areas that declared a state of calamity according to the Department of Trade and Industry. Likewise, 13 teams from Department of Energy from the neighbouring Region 8, together with personnel from other energy companies are in Albay aiming to fully restore power before 25 December, while water and communication utility companies are fixing their facilities. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Manila International Airport Authority, and Clark International Airport Authority have secured airports, runway equipment, and other facilities and have coordinated with local disaster offices.
Over 3,000 enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines helped in the evacuation of more than 300,000 people in 1,558 barangays. The Philippine National Police deployed more than 5,804 personnel for search and rescue and 1,556 personnel deployed in various evacuation centres.
Humanitarian Country Team response efforts
The United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator conveyed his commitment to a rapid and coordinated response following a Department of Foreign Affairs invitation to the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to contribute to government efforts in alleviating suffering of the affected population. OCHA is leading on preparation of a Humanitarian Need and Priorities plan targeting the needs of 260,000 of vulnerable people in the areas hardest hit by the typhoon, scheduled for release on 9 November.
Government and members of the HCT Inter Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) are conducting rapid impact and needs assessments. From 2-4 November, OCHA, with support from IOM and WFP, led an inter-agency assessment together with NGOs, CSOs and church groups in Albay province. From 5-9 November, ICCG together with the Office of Civil Defense launched a joint needs assessment in the province of Catanduanes, ground zero of the initial landfall. The ECHO Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) has activated the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service to help the assessments.
IOM with support from the German Embassy and USAID is providing PPEs, its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) tool, CCCM and Shelter kits support, especially to heavily hit Catanduanes province. WFP with support from USAID is transporting 9,600 family food packs (35 trucks) to the provinces of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur. FAO will support the agriculture department in assessing the damage to agriculture and in the rehabilitation of agri-facilities.
World Vision continue to coordinate with local government offices in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur as they look to address immediate needs of those affected. A team from Islamic Relief Philippines is traveling to Bicol Region for an assessment. The Philippine Red Cross continue to provide support on WASH and distributing blankets, tarpaulins and food packs to people in need and have set up health check points for COVID-19 in some of the most affected areas.