Philippines: CARE Responds to Cyclone Bopha


December 11, 2012 – Tropical cyclone Bopha made landfall in the Philippines on December 4, sweeping across the southern islands and affected 26 of the Philippines” 80 provinces. Winds of up to 338 miles per hour have triggered flash floods, landslides and widespread damage to homes and farms.

Philippines: CARE Responds to Cyclone Bopha image 1
Mandulog: In this area, the bridge was washed out last year by tropical storm Washi. People were using a raft but this was destroyed by Bopha. This tramline was actually installed to carry construction materials across the river, but people are now using it as well. CARE has begun to build a hanging bridge here, which will allow people to cross safely again.. © 2012

The cyclone has caused a major humanitarian disaster affecting 5.4 million people, and the government of the Philippines has declared a state of emergency. The death toll now stands at 647 but hundreds of people are missing. In addition, more than 300,000 people are displaced and two-thirds of them have sought shelter in evacutation shelters with the rest staying with friends and relatives.

"Bopha, like tropical cyclone Washi almost exactly a year ago, hit a region where typhoons are not very common," says Celso Dulce, CARE”s Philippines representative and disaster risk reduction advisor. "The people and local authorities were therefore less prepared. The provinces that have received the most damage and the most number of casualties are also the provinces where environmental degradation is very extensive, due to large-scale mining and logging activities."

In many areas, water and sewage systems have been severely damaged. The water is no longer safe to drink or even use for bathing or washing dishes and clothes. Food and water supplies in affected areas are strained and especially concerning is that there”s not enough available for those staying in evacuation shelters. Reaching the hardest-hit areas continues to be difficult as some roads and bridges have been destroyed by the floods and landslides.

CARE is preparing to respond, working with local partners to provide emergency shelter materials, sanitation supplies, and food and water to people in evacuation centers and in isolated communities, and improving the risk-reduction capacities of communities.