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During November 2020, within a short span of just a few weeks, communities across the Philippines have experienced extreme weather disturbances, including Tropical Storm SAUDEL, Typhoon MOLAVE, Tropical Storm ATSANI and Tropical Storm ETAU. The two strongest typhoons to strike the nation were Super Typhoon GONI (or locally known as ROLLY), and Typhoon VAMCO (or ULYSSES). In response to the impact of Super Typhoon GONI – that made landfall in the Philippines on 1 November 2020 – as well as the ongoing impacts of the other storms and typhoons, the AHA Centre was engaged to support the Government of the Philippines to respond to the people’s needs in the days and weeks that followed.

The AHA Centre released a large number of relief items stockpiled at the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the Philippines, to strengthen the government’s ongoing efforts to support typhoon-affected communities. Facilitated by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) of the Philippines, the first batch of ASEAN relief items were transported by the Navy on 15 November from the Port of Manila to the Bicol Region – which was the region most affected by Super Typhoon GONI. A second batch of relief items was transported to Marinduque Province on 30 November.

The ASEAN relief items, valued at almost USD900,000, included 2,946 rolls of tarpaulins, 100 shelter repair kits, 1,000 kitchen sets, 5,000 mosquito nets, 5,700 family kits, 5,010 jerry cans, 74 outdoor family tents, and also 1,000 indoor family tents that can be used by affected families inside evacuation centres. This response was the AHA Centre’s biggest response to disaster to date in 2020. It also evidenced the value of the DELSA Satellite Warehouse system – developed in 2019 and co-managed by the AHA Centre and the Philippines OCD – supporting the overall speed and accuracy of disaster response for the ASEAN region.

Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, stated that the mobilisation of ASEAN relief items – supported by Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and Direct Relief – represents the tangible solidarity of ASEAN and the spirit of ‘One ASEAN, One Response’. “The AHA Centre has been monitoring the disaster situation in the Philippines since October 2020 when several weather disturbances were first identified”, Ms Kamal explained, adding that “when we gathered and received information about the potential impacts caused by these extreme weather disturbances, our Emergency Operations Centre was activated, and this included working closely with our counterpart at the OCD of NDRRMC in the Philippines, as well as other ASEAN countries and partners for potential regional support”.

To provide situational awareness and common operating information on the effects of extreme weather disturbances, including Super Typhoon GONI, the AHA Centre also organised an executive briefing on 4 November 2020. The event was attended by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, ASEAN Member State representatives, diplomatic missions, defence attachés, and humanitarian partners from across the region. The Philippines OCD Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad provided a briefing on the latest situation from the affected provinces, as well as an update on impacts that the super typhoon was having on communities and infrastructure.

“The Philippines has been tested by multiple tropical cyclones, floods and other weather disturbances, within a span of only a few weeks. Our hearts and prayers are with the typhoon-affected communities, and we believe that the Filipino spirit is stronger than any typhoon,”
Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre.


Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre and NDRRMC – OCD of the Philippines