Oxfam delivers clean water to isolated communities in Philippines hit by Typhoon Mangkhut

Published: 18th September 2018

Four days after Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall, a truck carrying clean water and jerry cans arrived in Cagayan today for immediate distribution by Oxfam and the Cagayan Valley Disaster Response Center (CVDRC) to isolated communities in Rizal, Cagayan. This immediate response is informed by rapid assessments made by Oxfam and local partners that clean water and shelter are the urgent priorities for communities directly affected by the typhoon. Oxfam and partners will be distributing water kits containing two jerry cans and and sealed water.

Maria Rosario Felizco, Oxfam Philippines Country Director, said: “Oxfam and partners are providing clean drinking water to three indigenous communities in Rizal where people have walked six hours by foot to reach the town center, and some crossing rivers chest high just to get badly needed supplies the day after the storm hit. Water distribution will be ongoing as more supplies are delivered to other areas in the coming weeks.” 

The mountainous municipality of Rizal, in the southwestern part of Cagayan, was among the first areas assessed by response teams from Oxfam and Citizens' Disaster Response Center (CDRC). The teams have been assessing coastal towns and mountainous areas in Cagayan since Thursday last week. 

CDRC Executive Director Mikhail Valle reported that it was extremely difficult to get into Rizal in the aftermath of Mangkhut. “It took us three hours just to get through. In our first attempt, we were blocked by a flooded bridge and we had to take another route, which was very far. We were also confronted by landslides along the way.” The emergency responders’ van had to be pulled by a payloader through the thick mud left behind the by the typhoon the first time they tried to reach hundreds of families in Rizal. 

Rizal sits at the border of Cagayan and Apayao provinces, which are among Mangkhut’s worst hit regions, is classified by the Philippine Department of Health as a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA). The government recognizes that GIDAs are far-flung communities with marginalized populations, such as indigenous peoples, who disproportionately face access barriers to critical infrastructure and social services. 

Valle says the Rizal municipality contains several isolated areas inhabited entirely by indigenous people. “They have their own resources and practice preparedness, but due to the extent of the impact of Mangkhut, they still need assistance. They depend on wells for water, and they are prone to water-borne diseases.” 

Oxfam is also preparing to distribute materials for shelter repair, including tarpaulins and ropes, later this week.

Notes to editors

A video clip of the assessment team’s van being pulled by a payloader through the thick mud left behind the by the typhoon on the way to Rizal town: https://twitter.com/oxfamph/status/1041961210814447617 

Photos and more details from the water distribution in Rizal today: https://twitter.com/oxfamgbpress/status/1041628053745623040

Contact information

Patricia Miranda in the Philippines  |  + 63 (02) 920 2814009   |  PMiranda@oxfam.org.uk 

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.

Oxfam supporters around the world can now contribute to the Typhoon Mangkhut Response online