The strongest storm of 2020, Super Typhoon Goni, made landfall in the Philippines on November 1, bringing wind speeds as high as 175 miles per hour. The storm affected 1.5 million people, displacing more than 415,000 from their homes.
In the worst affected areas, houses have been completely buried, roads have been washed away, and electricity and communications have been disrupted or destroyed. Initial reports say that more than 41,000 acres of land have been damaged, affecting 18,000 farmers and resulting in an estimated loss of 73,000 tons of rice, corn, and high-value crops worth about $24 million.
The true extent of the damage remains unknown, as several areas remain inaccessible. Action Against Hunger is conducting rapid needs assessments in Albay and Camarines Sur provinces. Our emergency teams and supplies are ready to deploy from Manila to support staff already working in the impacted areas. Additionally, we have already contacted local suppliers to expedite the procurement of urgently needed items.
"It is only the beginning. It is estimated that this year, the La Niña phenomenon, directly related to the climate crisis, could cause between three and six typhoons to hit the archipelago before the end of the year," explains Melinda Buensuceso, Operations Coordinator for Action Against Hunger in the Philippines.
"Fortunately, the country has made great strides in recent years in natural disaster management, and the strong early warning and evacuation mechanisms put in place by Philippine authorities save many lives. But once saved, ensuring water and food in evacuation centers is crucial and doing so now, in the context of COVID-19, is a huge challenge. The country, with more than 380,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, was already exhausted after the longest quarantine in the world," says Benedetta Lettera, Action Against Hunger's Desk Officer for the Philippines.
We have been working in the Philippines since 2000 and have deployed emergency interventions following numerous natural disasters in the country such as typhoons and earthquakes, including Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.