Philippines faces worst typhoon season in decades
16 November 2020
Within a fortnight, the people of the Philippines have been hit with two record-breaking typhoons that have caused widespread destruction. Our partners are already on the ground, helping families who have been devastated.
Last week, Typhoon Vamco – one of the strongest storms in the world this year - made landfall in the Philippines, submerging entire towns and villages in the Cayagan valley, and leaving flooding and rain-induced landslides in its wake.
So far, 67 people have been killed and dozens are missing, according to the country’s national disaster management agency. Thousands of people – many stranded on rooftops - were rescued and evacuated.
#TyphoonVamco – one of the strongest storms in the world this year - made landfall in the Philippines, leaving flooding and rain-induced landslides. So far, 39 people have been killed and thousands evacuated. @Rajibooey shares videos of residents trapped on rooftops. pic.twitter.com/vaTqHej25N— CAFOD (@CAFOD) November 13, 2020
Typhoon Vamco - which has damaged electricity and water supplies, transport links and crops - comes barely a fortnight after Super Typhoon Goni made landfall, the most powerful typhoon seen in the country in seven years.
On Sunday Pope Francis delivered a prayer for the Philippines from St Peter's Square in the Vatican. He said: "I am close in prayer to the people of the Philippines who suffer from the destruction and above all from the floods caused by a strong typhoon."
I am near in prayer to the dear people of the #Philippines who are suffering because of the destruction, and especially because of the flooding caused by a strong #typhoon. I express my solidarity to the poorest families and those who are doing all they can to help them.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 15, 2020
How is CAFOD responding?
The emergency team of CAFOD's partner, Caritas Philippines (known locally as NASSA), is already on the ground.
They are monitoring the situation, while also continuing with their relief efforts in the areas ravaged by the recent Super Typhoon Goni.
NASSA is coordinating with local faith-based organisations and government departments to best deliver aid to affected families.
Reverend Fr Tony Labiao, Executive Secretary of Caritas Philippines, said:
“The nation is in a quandary. In Cagayan, people – children, the elderly and the vulnerable - are crying out for help. Some have died already.
“It is clear that we cannot do this alone. It is imperative that we leave no one behind. Let us all help each other. Let us save everyone. Every second counts. Every life matters.”
Why are the typhoons making more impact than usual?
The Philippines is used to tropical storms and typhoons, but this year's preparation and response efforts have been hampered by the spread of coronavirus.
Additionally, these two typhoons, which hit at very close proximity, were extremely powerful and damaging, leaving the people of the Philippines little time to recover.