On 25 December 2016, Typhoon Nock-ten which initially landed on Catanduanes Island in the southeast of Luzon, Philippines, took its course to the greater Albay Province to cause extensive damage.
Soon after the typhoon passed, AMDA started to closely monitor the local condition by keeping in touch with its regional counterpart, Dr. Gloria Mercado who is one of the key figures for AMDA`s Global Partnership for Sustainable Peace (GPSP) program and currently serves as Deputy Cabinet Secretary at the Office of the Cabinet Secretary of the Philippines and Executive Director of the Performance and Projects Monitoring Office.
Through Dr. Mercado, AMDA was referred to Catanduanes State University to help handle the coordination on the ground. The Typhoon affected not only the houses but also the livelihood of the local residents most of whom are farmers, which led to financial difficulty. Local assessment revealed that some of the affected people, especially those who lost their houses completely, are still relying on food aid for their daily food requirements. Thus, AMDA decided to carry out food distribution in the region after two weeks.
Arriving in Manila on 11 January 2017, AMDA coordinator was joined by two staff from the Office of the Cabinet Secretary to visit Catanduanes on the following day.
In Catanduanes, the team met with the president of the Catanduanes State University and the director of the department of extension school to discuss the relief activity. On the same day (12 January), the team procured food items and prepared in small bags for easy distribution with the help of 13 student volunteers and seven staff from the university.
On 13 January, the team visited severely affected regions, respectively, two areas in Bato Municipality and five areas in Virac Municipality to distribute food supply. With each bag containing three kilos of rice, two cans of sardines, biscuits, coffee, sugar, and a pack of egg-noodles, the team (including 13 student volunteers) managed to provide food aid to 500 households as a whole.
According to a local resident whose house was totally destroyed, the food aid was indeed a big help in restoring his daily life. The man, who used to make his ends meet by selling Abaka (a local plant) said, “I’m no longer able to support myself as I can’t get the plant anymore like how I did back then. It takes time to cultivate Abaka. But thanks to this assistance, I think I’ll try my best to rebuild my own house.”
Showing deep appreciation to this relief, another resident said that their life could not be maintained without this kind of food assistance.
On 14 January, AMDA visited Albay Province in the southern Luzon with a local counterpart to assess the severity of the damage.
UNOCHA reported that as of 13 January, while the number of casualties was 10, the number of affected houses within the country has topped 340,000, leaving 753 people (116 households) displaced. AMDA will keep an eye on the situation.