Philippines: Flash Appeal 2009

Philippines: Flash Appeal 2009


Tropical Storm Ketsana struck the Philippines on 26 September 2009, causing the worst flooding to sweep the capital and surrounding regions in over 40 years. With soils already saturated with monsoon rains, including three previous typhoons, the floods submerged around 80 percent of Manila and reached up to six metres in some areas. As of 1 October, losses to human life totaled 277.

The affected population exceeds 2.5 million people spread across 27 provinces of six regions and the entire National Capital Region (NCR). The storm and subsequent flooding destroyed homes and countless assets, causing nearly 686 700 people to flee to evacuation centres and 346 580 others to seek shelter with host families. Affected populations have lost most or all of their possessions and require urgent assistance.

Although the waters have subsided in some areas, many remain inaccessible. On 26 September, the Government launched a full-scale response, including extensive rescue operations and provision of emergency relief stocks. Two days later followed a request to the international community for assistance in responding to emergency needs in the worst impacted areas – NCR and Region IV-A. The Philippines Flash Appeal 2009, launched on 7  October, seeks over USD 74 million to support Government efforts in responding to emergency needs of one million people most affected by the floods over a six-month period.

Challenges facing agriculture and livelihoods

In the provinces worst affected by Tropical Storm Ketsana, the livelihoods of over 60 percent of the population rely primarily on agriculture. The sector, which includes crop, livestock and fisheries production, is the mainstay of the rural economy and provides agriculture-dependent households with access to food and income.

Preliminary reports indicate severe damage to approximately 7 500 hectares of rice fields, 500 hectares of corn farms and 5 400 hectares of high-value commercial crops. In addition to extensive financial and asset losses, farmers and their families risk immediate and longer-term food insecurity as the floods destroyed not only food stocks and crops but also the seeds for the upcoming planting season.

Inland and coastal fisheries also experienced heavy losses, as did poultry- and livestock-based livelihoods, from which women derive most of their income. Urgent support is needed to ensure that fisheries and livestock activities are resumed and that fields are prepared and planted in time for the imminent cropping season in October/November, which farmers cannot afford to miss. These are time-critical needs that will significantly contribute to reducing food insecurity and dependence on food aid and preventing the adoption of harmful coping strategies.

FAO’s response

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is appealing for nearly USD 4 million within the framework of the Philippines Flash Appeal 2009 to support ongoing efforts of the Government to restore and strengthen the food security of the most vulnerable farming and fishing communities in storm-affected areas. As the lead agency for agriculture, FAO is coordinating the efforts of partners active within the sector. With donor support, FAO aims to implement a two-pronged strategic approach, focusing on:

  • immediate agricultural and fisheries input assistance to the most vulnerable storm-affected families to ensure rapid restoration of food security and agriculture- and fisheries-based livelihoods; and
  • support to cluster coordination of emergency response and livelihood recovery in the agriculture sector to enhance the effectiveness of assistance to people affected by the disaster.