Philippines: Tropical Storm Washi

A woman receives support following Tropical Storm Washi. Photo: ADRA Canada

On December 16th, 2011, Tropical Storm Washi struck the Philippine island of Mindanao. Torrential rainfall resulted in flash flooding and mudslides across the island. Rivers overflowed and covered some areas with up to 10 feet of water. Vehicles and homes were swept away.

Over 1,000 people died and over 100,000 were taken to evacuation centres. The landslides and floods closed down roads, severed power supply lines and caused significant damage and loss of property. Approximately 20,000 soldiers were mobilized to assist in recovery efforts and evacuations. The cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were the hardest hit.

CCA member,  World Renew (previously known as CRWRC), has worked in the Philippines for nearly 40 years. In response to this new disaster, World Renew responded directly with a number of small interventions with the Cagayan de Oro Reformed Church, the Ikthus Baptist Church and the Living Hope church to provide shelter to those forced from their homes.

With the support from the Manitoba Council on International Cooperation (MCIC,) World Renew is also mounting another response to serve 1,280 internally displaced families currently living in evacuation centers. This aid will specifically serve families with children, the elderly, those who have physical challenges and those who have lost their homes.

The response will be carried out with ADRA Philippines and will include a “cash transfer” program where each of the 1,280 families received prepaid cards with a one-time $25.00 USD amount. These can be used at designated grocery stores or supermarkets that have a Point of Sales terminal to purchase water, hygiene items, bedding kits, food, and other essential aid. In this way, the beneficiaries have flexibility to purchase only the goods that they most need. It also enables the aid to happen more quickly than if World Renew or ADRA Philippines had to purchase supplies elsewhere and arrange to store, transport, and distribute them in the community. Because the cash transfers are used at existing grocery stores and supermarkets, the program also provides a boost to the local economy.

If a beneficiary wants to check the balance on their prepaid card, they can do so by sending a text message to specific number using their mobile phones. The cards cannot be used, however, to take cash out of an ATM or to purchase items not specifically related to emergency aid. In this way, fraud and misuse of the funds is prevented.

Lead agency

World Renew/CRWRC  (World Renew)

Implementing Partner

ADRA Philippines

CCA Supporting Members

ADRA Canada (Adventist Development and Relief Agency)
Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR)
ERDO (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada)
Presbyterian World Service & Development (PWS&D)
Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)
United Church of Canada (UCC)
World Renew/CRWRC (World Renew)