Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) response

Editor's Note: Several organizations are accepting donations to help Mangkhut-affected communities rebuild and recover. Two of them are Christian Aid and the Shared Aid Fund for Emergency Response (SAFER), an organization co-founded by the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, and Humanitarian Response Consortium (HRC).

 

 

MANGKHUT: AN OVERVIEW

Super Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) hit the Philippines, particularly Northern Luzon, last weekend, making landfall in Northern Luzon last September 15. It has been called the strongest typhoon of the year, and is one of the strongest typhoons that have wreaked havoc in the country since Haiyan (Yolanda) slammed into Eastern Visayas almost five years ago.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has reported that over 1.7 million people were affected in several regions in Luzon as of this writing, with 23 people reported dead, 134 injured, and two missing.

 House debris in Brgy. Pagbangkeruan in the town of Alcala, Cagayan province. © AC Dimatatac/ICSC

 

Hard-earned lessons in disaster risk reduction, especially from Haiyan, has led to better preparedness and less casualties. Yet the full force of the impacts of Mangkhut would be felt in about a month’s time, when food stocks run out and farmers are supposed to harvest crops that were destroyed due to the typhoon. Cagayan and Cordillera regions, which were among the hardest hit by Mangkhut, are major rice and corn producers. Another potential challenge is the rise of food prices as the country is still reeling from a high inflation rate.

Flor Tomonggao of Mandiga Community Center, a CODE-NGO partner, explains to Christian Aid Philippines’ Joana Villaflor that the cornfields behind them in Tanudan, Kalinga used to be forest lands. The conversion of forest cover to agricultural lands is actually prohibited but residents have no other source of income. She adds that this resulted to an increase in temperature in the area. © AC Dimatatac/ICSC

 

Based on NDRRMC’s latest situation report, the NDRRMC estimates that Mangkhut damaged PHP 14.3 million worth of agriculture and PHP 3.6 million worth of infrastructure in Luzon. Almost 172,000 farmers have been affected in the Cordillera region alone. Mangkhut also damaged over 54,000 houses and caused landslides and flooding.

THE RAPID ASSESSMENT TEAM

A joint rapid assessment team of Christian Aid and its partners cross Cagayan River towards Brgy. Afusing Batu in Alcala, Cagayan. Traveling to this remote area requires riding two boats and one tricycle. © AC Dimatatac/ICSC

 

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities joined Act Alliance’s Mangkhut rapid assessment team led by Christian Aid. The Aksyon sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima (AKKMA), an initiative of the Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), was also a part of the team, which supported partner communities and groups in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and Kalinga over the past week.

The Act Alliance partners on the ground are the People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN) in Cagayan, the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) in Kalinga, and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) in Isabela. They led the assessment of Mangkhut’s impact and identification of people’s needs to help tailor-fit future projects and actions. Cash assistance was also given to support families in accessing basic needs immediately after the typhoon.

Glinly Alvero, a RE-Serve humanitarian corps volunteer and technical officer of ICSC, demonstrates the use of the solar-powered TekPak to locals of Brgy. Afusing Batu in Alcala, Cagayan. The locals are not familiar with solar energy and rely heavily on diesel generators. They added that they have regular power outages even without typhoons because of their remote location. © AC Dimatatac/ICSC

 

The ICSC contingent was led by technical officer Glinly Alvero, who is also a Haiyan survivor and volunteer of the RE-Serve Humanitarian Corps based in Tacloban. He led the conduct of energy audits and showed Mangkhut survivors how the renewable energy-powered TekPak—which he made with fellow Haiyan survivors—can meet their everyday and emergency needs. He also operated the RE-Serve drone, through which took aerial photos and video footage to help better illustrate the extent of Mangkhut’s impact.

Also part of the ICSC contingent were AC Dimatatac, photographer and media coordinator, and Francis Dela Cruz, associate for policy advocacy.

 

Aerial photo in home page: An estimated PHP 25 million worth of inputs in just Alcala, Cagayan alone were wasted as Mangkhut (Ompong) pummeled northern Luzon. This means farmers’ debts to lenders not paid and hard times ahead. Farmers need technical assistance and climate information to adapt or transform livelihoods. © Glinly Alvero/ICSC. 

For more photos from the Rapid Assessment Team, visit bit.ly/mangkhutphotos.