People help to rescue flood victims in Lanao Del Norte, Philippines, December 22, 2017. Climah Cabugatan Disumala/via REUTERS
People help rescue flood victims in Lanao Del Norte, Philippines, December 22, 2017. Climah Cabugatan Disumala/via REUTERS

Tropical Storm Tembin (locally called Vinta) swept across the southern Philippines on Saturday, December 23, leaving at least 120 people dead and 160 others missing, and setting off flash flooding and landslides throughout the area. Most of the deaths occurred in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, and on the Zamboanga Peninsula, according to initial reports. The number of fatalities, injuries, and those missing is expected to rise.

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A policeman carries a young girl as he wades through a flooded street in Cagayan City after heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Tembin. Credit: AFP.

Initial reports from relief organizations on the ground indicate thousands of homes were washed away. Response efforts are currently focused on search and rescue efforts and life-saving endeavors. Regional warehouses have been activated to assist with supply and logistics, and area water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) hubs have been placed on standby.

The storm is expected to strengthen during the next day or two, and will likely impact southern Vietnam on or around Christmas Day. It appears Tropical Storm Tembin tracked south of the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which destroyed the Philippines in November of 2013, although some areas may have overlapped. On average, the Philippines sees about 20 typhoons and severe storms each year, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

A number of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s non-governmental organization (NGO) partners have long-standing presences in the Philippines. All of these organizations have indicated that they will be working first to check the status of their in-country staff, and second to coordinate with government and local relief and recovery efforts.

If you are a responding NGO, please send your updates to anna.hurt@disasterphilanthropy.org.

If you are a funder seeking direction on how to best respond, please contact regine.webster@disasterphilanthropy.org.