On Monday, 08 December 2014, Typhoon Hagupit was downgraded to a tropical storm but remained formidable and perilous as it approached the densely populated region in and around the Philippine capital of Manila. The Philippine Red Cross reported that 21 people had been killed in the eastern Visayan island of Samar where Hagupit first made landfall in the Philippines on the evening of Saturday, December 6. Hagupit claimed at least two more lives outside of Samar. Classrooms and government offices were closed in Manila, as the city braced for heavy rain and storm surge. In the Visayas, where the typhoon had passed on, evacuees were beginning to return to their homes to survey the damage to their houses and fields. The damage has been considerable, but thanks to God’s grace and to the largest evacuation ever conducted in the Philippines in peacetime, the reported death toll has so far amounted to only a tiny fraction of the slaughter dealt by Super Typhoon Haiyan last year.
PBCI consultant, Kriz Cruzado, has been travelling with the local coordinators of PAR-DRNs (Peace and Reconciliation teams who are especially trained and organized as Disaster Response Networks). She continues to assess the damage in the Visayas and to coordinate and deploy the various DRN volunteers. Here is her latest dispatch:
0400H: Update from Carigara (Day 2 Update)
First of all, I apologise that I wasn’t able to post this last night as promised. I didn’t have network reception in Ormoc. But, my team and I were able to find a place to sleep.
As I am making this post, the sun is already up .
Our swift assessment yesterday (December 7) covered municipalities between Ormoc City, Western Leyte and Basey, Western Samar.
I am happy to update everyone that so far, there have been no major damages that we’ve seen as far as shelters and buildings are concerned; although we’ve seen a few houses that were toppled down and some temporary classrooms ripped apart. While we were on the road, we’ve observed that major rivers were almost going to overflow. If the rain continues to pour down, there’s a risk for flooding and that’s not a good thing. The major concern right now, and this is based on what we’ve seen and heard is to help build livelihood projects for affected families. The coconut trees – the major crop and one of the major sources of income in Leyte, Samar and Biliran – will still take 5-10 years to recover from the damages that have been caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Approximately, about 80-90 per cent of the coconut trees are damaged by Haiyan, which left many individuals poorer than they were before. The other crops that people grow are banana and sugarcane, which are mostly damaged by Typhoon Ruby, leaving poor families more economically vulnerable.
At 0400H today, some of the members of the Health and Paramedics and Rapid Response Committees left Ormoc to Lawaan, Eastern Samar to meet with DRN members in that area. Together, we will go to Dolores where Typhoon Ruby made its first landfall to do an assessment. I will post an update as soon as I can.