Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 12:58 GMT

Philippines: Over 285,000 people displaced by tropical storm

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 22 December 2011
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Philippines: Over 285,000 people displaced by tropical storm, 22 December 2011, available at: [accessed 13 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Tropical Storm Washi (or Sendong), which hit the Philippines between 15 and 18 December, has left over 1,000 people dead and displaced over 285,000 people from their homes which were destroyed or damaged by floods and landslides. As of 21 December, more than 240,000 displaced people were taking shelter with relatives or in makeshift structures, and a further 44,000 in 58 evacuation centres. In total, over half a million people are believed to be affected, the majority of them in the worst-hit region of Northern Mindanao, including Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City.

While the government, the Philippine Red Cross and NGOs have responded quickly, initial assessments by the government and the Humanitarian Country Team found that both local populations and those responding were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. Washi is the nineteenth tropical storm to hit the Philippines in 2011, but the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that the affected areas are seldom hit. The government has declared a national emergency and urgently requested international assistance.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has reported that more than 270,000 IDPs, in the evacuation centres or elsewhere, lack access to drinking water. The centres are also reported to be overcrowded, creating risks to the health and safety of IDPs. The government has highlighted that, in addition to emergency relief, the repair or reconstruction of almost 15,000 houses is needed to relieve this overcrowding and to allow displaced people to rebuild their lives as soon as possible. The permanent relocation of some families is being considered, due to the exposure of their homes to flash flooding from nearby rivers; thus their displacement in temporary shelters may become extended.

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