By Sarah Marzouk – HelpAge International
Tropical storm Hagupit is heading to Manila, but has been downgraded from a typhoon after crossing the country.
Thousands of people are heading home after about a million people were evacuated from vulnerable areas.
Rogelio, 62 from Leyte evacuated on 4 December with his five children and their families. He came to one of the help desks we set up in evacuation centres specifically for older people.
He said: “I’m happy that there is a help desk for older people where we can express our concerns.”
Heavy flooding still a possibility
Typhoon Hagupit has passed the areas where we work in Cebu and Leyte and the level of damage has not been as heavy as expected.
Other locations in Samar remain unclear as access is difficult due to landslides and local flooding. However, reports from some locations in East Samar indicate only moderate damage.
The slow moving tropical storm may cause significant flooding and we are therefore monitoring the situation closely.
Most of the evacuation centres are now closed and people have returned home. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is providing goods, such as rice to each household.
Refocusing on recovery efforts
Ian Clarke, HelpAge-COSE Programme Director in the Philippines, said:
“As of today there has been no call from the Filipino Government for request for assistance. They are continuing to lead in both assessments and the delivery of relief support.
“Based on these developments, we are refocusing on our current recovery work in North Cebu and West and East Leyte.”
The proposed assessment teams will now work on assessing the situation in the 110 supported communities that were affected by this recent Typhoon.
Initial assessments point to local flooding, some damaged rice crops, debris requiring clearing and some additional partial damage to some homes.
From this, we will see if there is a need to provide one-off targeted relief in the form of cash for work schemes or cash transfers.