Typhoons, Philippines. Credit: REUTERS/John Javellana, Courtesy of Alertnet.org

Philippines floods 2011

“Thousands of people are living with friends, relatives or other ‘hosts’ – many others are camped in evacuation centers. The escalating need for alternative shelters is a concern.”

Flash floods caused by Typhoon Washi have badly affected the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines where close to 1,000 people are thought to have lost their lives.

As of 6 January, the total number of affected people was still increasing, with the Philippine authorities estimating over one million people across all affected regions. The cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were worst hit when the storm, known locally as Sendong, made landfall late on Friday and early on Saturday 17 December. Thousands of families have been forced to flee their homes and seek shelter in crowded evacuation centers where the potential for disease to spread is high.

The situation

Thousands of people are living with friends, relatives or other ‘hosts’ – many others are camped in evacuation centers such as schools, from where people are now being evicted because of the start of term. The escalating need for alternative shelters is a concern.

The lack of running water is some of these areas will exacerbate the poor sanitary conditions of evacuation shelters, and could have wide-ranging implications on public health.

The availability of water seems to be increasing with the combined efforts of local governments, respective water districts, INGOs and private organizations and companies. There are still evacuation sites, however, still very much dependent on water trucking.

Sanitation and hygiene promotion are the more critical issues now with sanitation facilities, e.g., latrines, bathing cubicles, laundry areas, handwashing facilities, still very limited.

Oxfam is there

As the total numbers of people affected by typhoon Washi-Sendong have continued to rise, Oxfam has raised our beneficiary target to 35,000.

Oxfam started distributing water on 28 December, followed by hygiene kits containing hygiene materials plus blankets, mats, and mosquito nets.

Our current plans are to provide water and sanitation support those affected in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. This will include distributing hygiene kits and providing access to clean water and latrines.

Oxfam is particularly concerned that the affected people who have lost their homes and now living in cramped evacuation centers are very vulnerable to will to the outbreak of diseases.

Oxfam is contributing to sanitation facilities by providing sludge pits for portable latrines under a cash-for-work program, and advocating with the local authorities to use processed sludge as fertilizer in the future.


Please consider helping fund our emergency response in the Philippines. These Oxfam affiliates are running direct appeals:

Alternatively, you can also make a donation to the general emergency fund of your nearest national Oxfam affiliate. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide, which includes responding in countries such as the Philippines.

Read more

Blog: Why health matters in Sendong shelters

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