On 15 September, Typhoon Mangkhut (locally known as Ompong) made landfall in Cagayan Province, the Philippines, unleashing devastating winds and torrential rains. In its wake, over 2.5 million people were affected, 50 lives lost, and hundreds injured. Homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods across eight provinces and seven cities/municipalities were severely affected. Typhoon Mangkhut, with a diameter surpassing that of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, caused damages estimated at over USD 6 million.
Pre-emptive actions by the Government of the Philippines, such as early evacuations and the provision of essential supplies played a large part in reducing the number of casualties and mitigating the disaster’s impact. The AHA Centre’s involvement was also instrumental, both in the preparation for and response to Typhoon Mangkhut. Working closely with the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the AHA Centre tracked the typhoon’s progress as it moved towards the Philippines.
An In-Country Liaison Team (ICLT) arrived in the Philippines hours after the typhoon’s landfall, standing by at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) of the NDRRMC to provide support to national relief efforts. Three ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) Information Management Specialists were also deployed to support the NDRRMC with data analysis, data visualisation, and report writing.
The AHA Centre mobilised relief items worth over USD 275,000, including 30 tonnes of rice, four generator sets, and 2,000 rolls of tarpaulins, which were formally handed over to the NDRRMC in a meeting on 24 September 2018.
Five years later, the ASEAN response to Typhoon Mangkhut reminds us of the importance of preparedness, resilience, and unity in the face of calamities. ASEAN’s unified approach stands testament to the collective strength and solidarity of the ASEAN Member States in the spirit of “One ASEAN One Response.”
Written by: Gladys Respati | Photos by: AHA Centre