Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the Philippines on 15 September 2018, left behind more than 100 killed and missing, 49,000 damaged houses, and 128,000 displaced people. The tropical storm weighed heavily on infrastructure, schools, health facilities, and agriculture, with losses amounting to $340 million.
In pursuit of its humanitarian mission of helping the vulnerable and alleviating their suffering without discrimination, Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has allotted $100,000 from its Emergency Response Fund for initial intervention in three northern provinces (Cagayan, Isabela, and Benguet).
Once the field assessment of damage and needs, a response plan was developed to mobilize human (around 1,400 volunteers and rescue workers), technical, and logistic resources. The state of emergency was declared at major hospitals and health centers, to minimize casualties, help the victims to recover from the trauma, and secure their basic needs, such as shelter, food, water, sanitation, and psychological support.
The relief aid is currently procured and delivered in Cagayan, where the storm touched down. With 5,100 beneficiaries targeted, the relief program is coordinated with local authorities, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the Philippine Red Cross.
The items are 700 shelter kits, 500 tarpaulins, 1000 blankets, and 500 hygiene kits, each serving a six-member family and lasting for two weeks. By virtue of the water tank trucks earlier donated by QRCS to the Philippine Red Cross, drinking water is distributed to schools and residential areas in the affected areas.
"We have a comprehensive response plan," said Dr. Manuel N. Mamba, Governor of Cagayan. "With the appreciated Qatari support, it will definitely work. We are serious about withstanding the storm, making the affected areas more resilient, and enabling their populations to restore their normal lives".
Chris Staines, Head of IFRC Country Office in the Philippines, told the reporters in Cagayan, "QRCS is always there to lend a hand during natural disasters in the country. This is highly valued by all Movement partners and implies that QRCS is committed to its humanitarian duty towards the vulnerable communities".
Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, commended the prompt response by QRCS, "which stands by us before, during, and after disasters. We are happy with the support that Qatar offers to us, both in word and deed, during the endless disasters in my country. QRCS is a real partner, and it is typically one of the first to respond to humanitarian appeals. Thank you Qatar".
Since day one, QRCS's mission in the Philippines has been in touch with the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Manila, to keep them updated on the disaster, humanitarian situation, and coordination with partners and competent authorities.
H.E. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Malki, Ambassador of the State of Qatar in Manila, was personally interested in the activities of QRCS's mission. He gave instructions to the embassy staff to facilitate everything related to the relief plan, emphasizing the importance of allowing the victims access to relief provisions, especially in the worst-hit regions.
He also stressed coordination only with state and licensed organizations, compliance with national laws and procedures, and transparency throughout the process of humanitarian intervention.