Super Typhoon Rolly (Internationally known as Goni), the most powerful tropical cyclone recorded in 2020, devastated several areas in the Philippines with violent winds, torrential rain and mudslides when it made landfall on November 1, 2020. Bearing the brunt of the destruction was the Bicol Region.

24 hours after landfall, Junie Laguidao, a member of our Mission Emergency Response Team (MERT) and himself a Bicol Resident, immediately went to the hardest hit provinces of Albay and Catanduanes to assess the damages and impact to communities. “Fallen trees and electrical poles was a common site,” he continues, “in the worst affected areas, homes have been completely buried and roads have been washed away.”

Junie Laguidao interviewing Barangay Officials in an Evacuation Camp

As of November 8, the typhoon had left 309 injured, 139,150 people displaced and at least 24 fatalities have been recorded according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Damage to agriculture and infrastructure has reached Php 11.3 billion.

Action Against Hunger is focusing its humanitarian assistance to families in Catanduanes, where 80 to 90% of houses have been damaged in the capital of Virac.  The most immediate needs are water kits, hygiene kits, and livelihood assistance.

“Super Typhoon Goni could be a COVID-19 super spreader event: This disaster means that people are forced to shelter in cramped conditions where social distancing is impossible and clean water is in short supply,” Junie states. “This presents the perfect breeding ground for Covid-19… Our response has factored in the pandemic.”