In November of last year, two powerful typhoons struck the Philippines, leading to loss of life, injuries and homes and businesses
Super Typhoon Goni hit the country on November 1, followed by Typhoon Vamco on November 11. The storms affected approximately two million people in eight of the country’s 17 regions, causing 98 deaths and nearly 155,000 people to be displaced from their homes. More than 97,000 houses have been damaged, including more than 22,000 that were destroyed.
The hardest hit areas were Catanduanes and Albay provinces. In Catanduanes alone, the storms damaged more than 37,000 houses. Flooding, wind damage and debris from both typhoons have severely affected agriculture and critical infrastructure throughout the region, including roads, schools, health centers and telecommunications.
RED CROSS RESPONSE
The Philippine Red Cross pre-positioned emergency response teams, first aid, hygiene kits and other relief supplies in key areas. Teams helped evacuate people and pets in vulnerable areas to safe evacuation centers. After Goni, Red Cross utility vehicles deployed to rescue and help families to safety. The teams provided relief materials such as food, cooking equipment, tarps, generator sets and tents to communities in need.
First aid responders and trained volunteers searched for missing persons and provided relief across the most affected communities. On top of the physical, emotional and economic toll of COVID-19, consecutive storms disrupted people’s lives and livelihoods. Farmland was inundated, crops destroyed, and coastal fishing communities devastated.
The American Red Cross has contributed nearly $250,000 to assist the Philippine Red Cross with its response to the storms. The aid has helped provide cash and food items to people in need, on Catanduanes island, alongside psychosocial support. The American Red Cross also supports an existing project on Catanduanes to enhance community and household disaster preparedness.
On January 31 of this year, the Philippine Red Cross distributed cash grants to people like Dominga Lora, Shielda Tayoto and Marlene Trapago. Here’s what they had to say:
Dominga Lora a resident of Barangay Putsan, Baras, Catanduanes was one of the survivors of Super Typhoon Goni. In her 46 years, Goni is the strongest typhoon she has ever experienced. Together with her family, they were forced to evacuate their home.
An hour after the onslaught of the storm, she and her husband went back to their house to save whatever was left. Unfortunately, because their house was only made of light materials, only the flooring was left and most of their things were damaged. “Although we were devastated by Super Typhoon Goni, we will stand again stronger, we will build our house better that it can withstand to super typhoons like Goni,” she said.
Currently, Lora’s family is living in a makeshift house, and is planning to reconstruct their house as soon as possible. Recently, they received a cash grant from the Red Cross and other important assistance. “We are extremely thankful to the American Red Cross for their project here in our barangay, the Community Readiness in Bicol (CRIB) Project. I’m sure that by the end of the project, the community here in our barangay will be more resilient and prepared.”
Shielda Tayoto, 44 years old, married with two children, and a resident of Barangay Danao, Baras, Catanduanes, is one of the survivors of Super Typhoon Goni..
A day prior to the typhoon, her children sought safety at a house designated for evacuation in their village. As the storm hit, she and her husband braved the strong winds in the evacuation house. Upon returning to their home, they found heavy damage.
Tayoto finds fulfilment in helping her neighbors deal with disaster, so she is a volunteer with the Philippines Red Cross. Her family are also recipients of the Red Cross multi-purpose cash grant. “I believe that volunteering with the Red Cross will be a great help not only to my family, but also to the community. I will definitely be an active volunteer here in our barangay. I’m very thankful to American Red Cross for choosing our barangay as one of the core beneficiaries, because through it, our community and the whole barangay will be more resilient and prepared to any kind of disaster.”