November 29, 2023

ADRA Philippines Gears Up for Response After Devastating Floods

Government declares state of calamity in the Northern and Eastern Samar provinces.

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division; Shantell Leigh Villapez, ADRA Philippines, and Adventist Review
ADRA Philippines is activating a scaled up national emergency management plan to respond to the needs in Northern Samar, whose provincial government declared a state of calamity due to heavy rains and flooding. [Image: ADRA Philippines]

In response to widespread devastation due to severe flooding, both Northern and Eastern Samar in the Philippines have declared an official state of calamity. The disaster has affected an estimated 70 percent of residents in those provinces, a number that represents 74,500 families and 370,000 people across 24 towns, as reported by the Philippine News Agency.

Local government agencies have set up evacuation centers to accommodate thousands of affected families. Residents from Jipapad, Arteche, Oras, Dolores, Can-avid, Maydolong, and Maslog have fled their homes, prioritizing safety amid the ongoing crisis, regional government officers reported.

On November 17, a low-pressure area (LPA) entered the Philippines and caused heavy rain in Eastern Visayas and Caraga. Although the LPA weakened by November 19, a related weather feature, a shear line, continued to bring rain to parts of Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas. By November 21, the shear line led to intense rain and flooding in Northern Samar, causing significant damage to homes, crops, and infrastructure. 

The heavy rains have unleashed unprecedented and massive flooding, triggering landslides and inundating vast areas, officers said. These challenging conditions have significantly hindered rescue operations and the timely distribution of essential aid to displaced families.

In light of this disaster, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Philippines Emergency Management Team is working closely with the Adventist Community Service director of Samar Mission and the Central Philippines Union Conference to assist those affected, regional church leaders said.

“ADRA Philippines is activating a scaled up National Emergency Management Plan to respond to the needs of Northern Samar which was declared in a State of Calamity due to heavy rains and flooding resulting to damage to properties, agriculture, lifeline, and support services,” ADRA Philippines country director Hope Sarsaga-Aperocho said. “With this, the ADRA Philippines Emergency Management Team is coordinating with the Adventist Church in Samar and the Adventist Church in the Central Philippine Union Conference to respond to this disaster,” Aperocho added. “We are praying for the people affected by this calamity in Northern Samar and also for the protection of our Emergency Response Team as they address the needs of those affected by the flooding.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.