Thousands left homeless after Typhoon Melor lashes the Philippines

Publié: 23 décembre 2015 8:25 CET

By Mary Joy Evalarosa, IFRC @MJEvalarosa 

A week after Typhoon Melor (local name Nona) made landfall in the Philippines, shelter and food remain the primary concern for thousands of people struggling to recover. Typhoon Melor, made landfall on 14 December, causing 40 deaths and damage to over 168,400 houses, mostly in the provinces of Oriental Mindoro and Northern Samar. The estimated damage to agriculture and infrastructure amounts to 3 billion Philippine pesos (99 million US dollars).

Sorsogon province in the Bicol region felt the full impact of the Typhoon which made its second landfall in the coastal town of Bulusan. Despite being protected by a 12-foot sea wall, communities facing the Pacific Ocean could not withstand the 4-meter storm surges brought by the intense winds which inundated coastal homes. The town of Mabuyan in Bulusan was almost completely destroyed.

“It was scary,” said long-time Bulusan resident, 55-year old Paterno Davito. “The town has experienced typhoons before, but this is the first time a typhoon created this much damage since the 1980s.”

Nonetheless, the pre-emptive evacuation of residents living behind the sea wall a day before Melor struck meant that no lives were lost to the storm.  

One of the evacuees was 28 year old Adrian Forte. Along with his wife and two month old son, he lives in the coastal community of Dapdap in Bulusan.

 “The municipality alerted us ahead of time. We packed our essentials and escaped to the evacuation centre,” he said. “But now, I can’t go out and fish because of the rough seas.”

The landlocked municipality of Irosin, located at the base of the active Bulusan volcano, also alerted and evacuated residents into designated evacuation centres ahead of the typhoon. Most residents in Sorsogon were able to return to their homes a few days after the storm, only those whose homes were completely destroyed remain in the centres.  

Caroline Galban, 26, has been living with her children, a two year old and a five month old, at Tinampon High School in Irosin for a week now since their house was razed to the ground. When the storm cleared a few days later, her husband Robert spent most of his days at the site of their old home, trying to make their house liveable again using whatever materials he can scavenge from the debris and fallen trees.

The Philippine Red Cross Sorsogon chapter has been mobilizing volunteers to help with emergency relief in the most affected areas. Linday Macalino, 19, one of the youth volunteers, said she’s been a volunteer for the Red Cross since high school. “I also live near the chapter office, so I always drop by when I’m free.”

Typhoon Melor was closely followed by Tropical Depression Twenty Three (local name Onyok). Both storms have intensified the seasonal monsoon rains, causing extensive flooding across the Philippines.

On December 22, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal amounting to 3.7 million Swiss Francs (USD 3.8 million) to support the Philippine Red Cross in delivering humanitarian assistance to 45,000 people across the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The appeal focuses on providing essential household items, emergency shelter and multi-purpose cash grants to the worst-affected communities, as well as psychosocial support and awareness campaigns around the prevention of water and vector-borne diseases.

For more information and updates on the Typhoon Melor emergency response, click the following links: