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Cablegate: Humanitarian Impacts of Typhoon Mirinae Mitigated With

VZCZCXRO8310
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2308/01 3080756
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 040756Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5649
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHOVQHS/COMSEVENTHFLT IMMEDIATE
INFO RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 2313
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0337
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEHRO/USMISSION UN ROME IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 002308

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

BANGKOK FOR USAID /OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR A. DWYER
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA R. THAYER
USAID W/ FOR ANE/AA AND DCHA/FPP
GENEVA FOR N. KYLOH
USUN FOR OFDA REP
BRUSSELS FOR P. BROWN
ROME FOR USAID/OHA H. SPANOS
SECDEF FOR SOLIC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR J3/J4/J5
PACOM FOR J3/J4/J5
NSC FOR P. MARCHAM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SOCI PREL KPAO SENV EAGR RP
SUBJECT: HUMANITARIAN IMPACTS OF TYPHOON MIRINAE MITIGATED WITH
PREPAREDNESS MEASURES

REFTELS: A) Manila 2231 B) Manila 2155 C) Manila 2149 D)Manila 2140
E)Manila 2136 F)Manila 2125 G)Manila 2112 H)Manila 2098

1. Summary. As of November 2, the Government of the Republic of
the Philippines (GRP) National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)
reported that Typhoon Mirinae, locally known as Santi, affected more
than 54,600 individuals, leaving 18 dead, nearly 19,400 people
displaced, and an estimated 12,800 houses damaged or destroyed. On
November 2, USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
(USAID/OFDA) staff accompanied GRP and U.N. World Food Program (WFP)
representatives on a U.N. Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flight
over some of the most-affected areas surrounding Lake Laguna, where
the team observed significant flooding and destruction. Initial
assessments and results indicate that GRP preparedness measures,
including pre-positioning disaster response teams and relief
supplies, helped mitigate the humanitarian impact of Typhoon
Mirinae. However, populations residing in affected areas, as well
as individuals residing in areas previously affected by tropical
storms in late September and early October, continue to require
relief assistance. End Summary.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

2. On October 31, Typhoon Mirinae made landfall on Luzon island,
causing heavy rainfall and landslides in some areas that were
previously affected by Tropical Storm Ketsana (Ondoy), including
National Capital Region (NCR) and Rizal and Laguna provinces in
Region IV-A. Ketsana, which made landfall on September 26, caused
the most extensive flooding the capital city Manila has experienced
in more than 40 years, and resulted in the declaration of a national
calamity in the capital city and 27 provinces in Luzon. Over the
next two weeks, Typhoon Parma (Pepeng) made landfall twice in the
northern provinces of Luzon island, also causing significant
flooding and damage.

3. In total, Ketsana and Parma affected nearly 8.8 million people,
leaving 902 people dead, more than 207,000 people displaced in
evacuation centers, an estimated 210,000 houses damaged or
destroyed. As of October 30, the NDCC reported that nearly 87,500
people remained in evacuation centers as a result of Ketsana and
Parma. In addition, standing floodwater continued to hinder the
populations' ability to recover from the two tropical storms, even
as Typhoon Mirinae made landfall on October 31.

---------------------------
IMPACTS OF TYPHOON MIRINAE
---------------------------

4. As of November 2, the GRP NDCC reported that Typhoon Mirinae
affected approximately 54,600 people, leaving 18 dead, six injured,
and two missing throughout 14 provinces of regions III, IV-A, IV-B,
V, and NCR. Of the total affected population, nearly 19,400 people
resided in 103 evacuation centers immediately following the storm.
However, on November 2, the NDCC reported that the number had
decreased to approximately 13,300 people in 70 evacuation centers.


5. According to the NDCC, the typhoon destroyed nearly 2,000
houses, including more than 1,500 in Region IV. In addition, an
estimated 11,300 houses sustained partial damage, including more
than 4,500 houses located in Region IV and nearly 7,000 others in
Region V. U.N. staff report that the humanitarian community has not
completed a damage assessment in Batangas Province, Region IV-A,
noting that preliminary reports indicate that the typhoon destroyed
four bridges in the area. The Philippine Department of Agriculture
estimates that Typhoon Mirinae destroyed approximately USD 3.3
million in high-value crops and rice.

MANILA 00002308 002 OF 003

6. Prior to Mirinae's landfall on October 31, the GRP implemented
contingency measures, including pre-emptive evacuation of more than
115,000 people from Regions IV-A, V, and NCR and deployment of GRP
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) quick response
teams in areas along the typhoon's forecasted path. In addition,
the government pre-positioned funding and relief supplies, valued at
more than USD 4 million. Relief agencies note that these
preparedness measures significantly contributed to mitigating the
humanitarian impact of Typhoon Mirinae.

----------------------
USAID/OFDA FIELD VISIT
----------------------

7. On November 2, USAID/OFDA field staff accompanied the GRP
Secretary and Assistant Secretary of DSWD, the WFP Executive
Director in the Philippines, and U.N. Logistics Cluster staff on an
UNHAS flight to a relief supply staging area in Rizal Province,
Region IV-A, and a food distribution in Liliw municipality, Laguna
Province, Region IV-A. En route to Rizal Province, the team
observed significant flooding and destruction in some of the
most-affected areas around Lake Laguna, including Santa Cruz, the
capital of Laguna Province. While local authorities expected
floodwaters to remain standing in Lake Laguna as a result of
Ketsana, U.N. staff reported that the amount of standing flood water
had significantly increased compared to levels observed during a
flyover of the area prior to Mirinae's landfall. According to U.N.
and local government officials, the storm flooded more than 80
percent of Santa Cruz, which has an estimated population of 105,000
people.

8. Following the flyover of affected areas, the team traveled to
Camp Capinpin, a GRP military base that is serving as a U.N
Logistics Cluster staging area for DSWD and U.N. relief supplies.
DSWD pre-positioned 280 family food bags for 4,000 families at Camp
Capinpin. The team traveled to Liwil municipality, Laguna Province,
to distribute a portion of the pre-positioned food stocks.
According to the U.N., flooding from Typhoon Mirinae affected
approximately 31 of 33 barangay, the Philippines' smallest
administrative unit, in Laguna Province. Local government officials
reported that two landslides in the distribution area affected an
estimated 6,000 individuals. USAID/OFDA staff note that the food
distribution appeared well-organized and orderly, reporting that
each beneficiary family was pre-registered and waiting in line to
receive a food pack.

9. In discussions with USAID/OFDA staff, the Provincial Governor of
Laguna, who joined the team in Liliw, reported that top priorities
in the province include rehabilitation and health. Regarding health
assistance, the governor specifically mentioned the need to mitigate
the spread of leptospirosis--a rare, contagious bacterial infection
that has affected nearly 3,000 people in flood-affected areas.
According to health officials, affected individuals are contracting
the disease from standing floodwater contaminated with bacteria. A
team of experts from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network
(GOARN) is currently in country assessing the situation.

10. During the trip, the DSWD Secretary noted that support from the
U.N. Logistics Cluster remains invaluable to relief efforts in the
Philippines, noting that some affected populations would remain
inaccessible without assistance from the cluster. USAID/OFDA has
provided USD 500,000 to WFP to support logistics and transport of
humanitarian relief.
--------------------------
U.S. Government Assistance
--------------------------

11. In fiscal year (FY) 2009 and to date in FY 2010, the U.S.

MANILA 00002308 003 OF 003


Government (USG) has provided nearly USD 5.3 million to assist
populations affected by tropical storms in the Philippines,
including nearly USD 3.3 million in USAID/OFDA funding, more than
USD 827,000 in assistance from the U.S. Department of Defense, and
USD 1.2 million from USAID's Office of Food for Peace.

12. In FY 2010, USAID/OFDA allocated USD 3.8 million for emergency
grants to humanitarian organizations in the Philippines. To date,
USAID/OFDA has provided nearly USD 2.86 million of the FY 2010
allocation, with plans to program the remaining funds based on
ongoing assessments. On October 26, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced plans to provide
USD 8.5 million in food assistance to affected populations in the
Philippines through USDA's Food for Progress Program. Post, in
conjunction with USAID/OFDA, continues to monitor the situation.
USAID/OFDA is prepared to provide additional assistance, if needed.


Kenney

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