Typhoon Mangkhut (local name: Ompong) entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Friday, September 14, afternoon, with winds of 230 kilometers per hour (142 mph). According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), this is the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year.1
More than 1.4 million people were affected by Typhoon Mangkhut in Luzon, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“The winds were stronger than Typhoon Lawin and it lasted longer. Lawin came in around the same time but winds were gone by morning. This one howled for one night and one day,” said Trisha Fortes, a resident of Brgy. Alibangsay, Bagulin, La Union. Trisha is a member of a disaster preparedness committee (DPC) organized by Alay Bayan-Luson, Inc., an innovation team supported by TUKLAS.
TUKLAS Northern Luzon Lab Project Manager Kei Valmoria Bughaw was in Laoag, Ilocos Norte with her daughter when the eye of the typhoon passed through. Fifteen-year-old Maia relates: “Mama wanted to go out to take videos but we could not stand against the wind. We saw roofs flying and the building was shaking like there was an earthquake.”
Ferocious winds and heavy rains triggered flooding and landslides that destroyed shelter, infrastructure, and over PhP 16 billion worth of agriculture.
The Philippines TUKLAS Innovation Labs has been closely monitoring the storm and the situation on the ground together with its consortium members, Plan International Philippines, Action Against Hunger, CARE Philippines, and the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center.
Emergency response teams sent by the consortium members were first on the ground to assess the damage and support government relief efforts. The said organizations are in close coordination with the government, humanitarian organizations, and communities for effective disaster response.
Affected population includes innovators
44 innovators supported by TUKLAS and their 13 partner communities are located in Northern Luzon, the area that experienced the most damage.
All innovators are safe and accounted for by the Northern Luzon Lab of TUKLAS. Partner communities have reported that crops have been severely destroyed and road networks have been blocked by debris and landslides.
One of the major landslide site is in Itogon, Benguet, where miners and their families were buried under the mud on Saturday.
The death toll in the area has climbed to 54, while 59 remain missing, according to the Philippine National Police and local authorities.
Itogon, Benguet is the partner community of an innovation team supported by TUKLAS. Since March, the team has been working with the community to provide cultural and theater workshops to the children of miners. The children have yet to be accounted for as communication networks have been affected in the area.
Innovative solutions used by communities
In the aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut, partner communities in Ilocos Norte used the QuikData mobile app to send damage reports a day to 48 hours after the storm blew through.
Anna Leal, Executive Director of Ilocos Center for Research, Empowerment & Development (ICRED) shares that the app was used by volunteers from other communities and not only in their partner community of Isic-Isic, Vintar, Ilocos Norte. Although there were widespread power blackout and lack of mobile network signal in the region, by the evening of September 16, ICRED staff started receiving reports through the web app version.
“There were some difficulties in the user interface but we welcomed these because it was an opportunity to test our app in an actual emergency. Moving forward, we will make the needed improvements to make it easier to transmit damage and needs assessment data,” she added.
Data from the reports were then used by emergency responders to provide assistance to affected families. QuikData was developed by ICRED with support from TUKLAS.
Ongoing emergency response
In the next few weeks, TUKLAS will continue to support consortium members and innovators in providing assistance to families affected by the storm.
Consortium members have released their respective situation report on Typhoon Mangkhut and are currently seeking funding support for emergency response, with focus on shelter, livelihood, and protection.
The Citizens’ Disaster Response Center, the organization managing the Northern Luzon Lab of TUKLAS, is working on an appeal and situation report to raise funding for relief in the Cordillera, Ilocos, and Cagayan Regions.
Since the storm made landfall on September 15, Northern Luzon Lab Staff has been assisting local partners in data collation, reports writing, and canvassing and procurement of relief goods. They will also be traveling with the response teams during the actual relief distribution.
Multiple innovation teams in Typhoon Mangkhut-affected areas have been working together in distributing hot meals to evacuees and other relief efforts. They have also launched calls for donations and volunteers.
Schedules for innovation testing and refinement activities with communities have been set aside to give way to response efforts. The TUKLAS Northern Luzon Lab will continue coordinating with Typhoon Mangkhut-affected innovation teams to discuss possible pivots and schedule adjustments.
TUKLAS Innovation Labs hopes for faster recovery of the affected communities in the region through strong and coordinated disaster response and management between the private and public sectors, and humanitarian actors, including consortium members.