Typhoon is a usual weather phenomenon in the Philippines, averaging 20 in a year (ADRC). Recently, in a span of less than a month (October 23 – November 13, 2020) the country was visited by five typhoons, two of which – Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses, undeniably left parts of the country devastated. Among the several regions affected, Regions V (Bicol Region) and II (Cagayan Valley) were hardly hit.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that the damages brought about by Super Typhoon Rolly was estimated at P12.87 billion in infrastructure, wherein P12.23 billion was attributed from the Bicol Region. In agriculture, the estimated damage was P5 billion affecting 65,897 hectares of agricultural land. There were more than half a million families affected and casualties reported included 25 dead, 399 injured and six missing.
On the other hand, Typhoon Ulysses’ estimated damage in infrastructure was at P12.94 billion, P5 billion of which was incurred in Region II. Damage to agriculture was about P7.32 billion. There were 213 flooding incidents recorded and even after the typhoon some towns remained flooded. The number of families affected reached 1.2 million and casualties were 101 dead, 85 injured, and 10 missing.
In response to the aftermath, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) is funding six S&T based rehabilitation projects for eight provinces in partnership with five state universities – Catanduanes State University (CatSU) for Catanduanes; Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) for Camarines Sur; Bicol University (BU) to cover Albay, Camarines Norte, Masbate, and Sorsogon; Cagayan State University (CSU) for Cagayan Valley; and Isabela State University (ISU) for Isabela. The total budget amounts to P30 million or P5 million each for Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Isabela, and Cagayan provinces and P5 million combined for Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, and Masbate.
The projects intend to abate the impacts of the abovementioned typhoons in the AANR sector through S&T-based interventions for rehabilitation. Each project will conduct: 1) AANR damage assessment through of survey of actual damage in the target communities and to determine the assistance needed; 2) Procurement and distribution of S&T products and other immediate needs (food packs and hygiene kits) to affected families since nutrition and health are the major concerns during calamities; 3) Assessment of potential future community-based S&T interventions; 4) Capacity building in terms of identified AANR-related technical trainings and stress debriefing to address physical and psychological effects of trauma due to the disaster; 5) Provision of agricultural inputs such as vegetable seeds and other planting materials, and other production inputs; and 6) Distribution of technology guides and other IEC materials.
These projects are under the SAFE Ligtas of the Science and Technology Action Frontline for Emergencies and Hazards (SAFE) Program that addresses post-disaster recovery activities such as rehabilitation of areas affected by natural disasters. SAFE is PCAARRD’s technology transfer modality that addresses social, economic, and environmental impacts of climate change by enhancing resiliency and adaptive capacities of social and natural ecosystems through use of technologies to promote environmental conservation and rehabilitation. SAFE provides S&T-based interventions to prevent or prepare for climate- and environment-related emergencies and hazards (E&H) in the AANR sector. This is PCAARRD’s direct contribution to disaster risk reduction and management as well as post disaster community rehabilitation and reinforcement in the country.