Targeting emergency aid in Philippines

CAGAYAN DE ORO, 2 Jan – Cyclone Washi/Sendong in late 2011 caused more than 1,250 deaths and displaced more nearly three quarters of a million people in the southern Philippines. The mounting scale of response by the end of December led to a request for support from MapAction.

A team of MapAction’s emergency mapping volunteers has been tasked to work alongside United Nations disaster coordination teams from an operations centre in Cagayan de Oro, in the heart of the worst-hit region on the north side of the island of Mindanao.

Many people are still in evacuation centres, unable to return to their devastated communities. The international Humanitarian Cluster system is supporting the Government’s response by conducting a series of detailed needs assessments. MapAction will map these needs, highlighting the highest priorities and enabling aid agencies to achieve the best use of their resources to reach people lacking essentials such as proper sanitation.

This is MapAction’s second mission to the Philippines. In 2009 a severe storm in the north of the country saw a MapAction team deployed in response. There, as in the current emergency, MapAction volunteers worked closely with both international aid organisations and the country’s own national disaster management agency.

(Photo: Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan)