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Philippines: Philippines: A Year After Typhoon Haiyan - Survivors Rebuild Their Lives

7 November 2014 - 10:58am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

By Anthony Chase Lim — 7 November 2014

It has been a year since Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) devastated the Visayas region of the Philippines. The World Food Programme’s Faizza Tanggol and Anthony Chase Lim went back to Leyte to find out how the people are rebuilding their lives one year on.

When Super Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, swept across the Visayas region of the Philippines on 8 November 2013, it became the strongest typhoon in recorded history to make landfall.

By the time Haiyan had left the Philippine Area of Responsibility, approximately 14.1 million people were affected, 4 million of which were forced to flee their homes, over 6,000 individuals had lost their lives, and 5.6 million survivors were at risk of food insecurity.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm and in response to the Philippine Government’s clarion call to address the priority needs of the worst-stricken areas, the World Food Programme (WFP) launched an emergency operation targeting the most vulnerable populations located in the hardest hit areas of Leyte, Panay, and Samar.

Providing immediate food assistance

WFP immediately implemented general food distribution in November, closely working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by providing rice and nutrition commodities to supplement DSWD’s ‘family pack’ which also included canned sardines and instant noodles. Through partnerships with various key government agencies, local government units (LGUs) as well as international and national non-government organizations (NGOs), WFP provided over 35,000 metric tons (mt) of rice to 2.95 million affected individuals in 138 municipalities throughout 10 provinces in the Visayas region.

Procopio Molina and Lilian Florendo, both left homeless in the wake of the super typhoon, were among the recipients of this food assistance. Both still vividly recall the timely, vital aid they received.

“The rice from WFP and food from the DSWD were a huge help because we had nothing to eat at that time,” Procopio said.

“The first relief that we got was one sack of rice,” explained Lilian. “I was really happy, I said, ‘Thank you Lord for this rice.’ Every month, we received one sack of rice.”

A year later, Procopio and Lilian continue to rebuild their lives on the foundations of hope.

Currently residing in a temporary house, Procopio has been building his family a new place to call home. “Eventually, we’ll have a new house. Merely half remains unfinished,” shared the 57-year old.

Despite the difficulties, Procopio remains optimistic. “We know things will get better. There’s always hope,” he said.

Meanwhile, having rebuilt their house, Lilian and her family now lend a helping hand to other people.

“When my family lost our house, people helped us rebuild it, so I want to do the same for others,” she shared. “When I heard my nephew had lost his grandfather and he and his cousin were left to fend for themselves, I arranged for a galvanized steel roof and some lumber so that they could reconstruct their house.”

For now, Lilian hopes that they will be able to fully recover from Haiyan. She has begun producing coconut wine once again to support her family’s income.

“We are truly grateful for those who gave to us as it was a really big help. We are in a better state now than we were before,” she said.

Emergency cash assistance

Noting the collapse of the main drivers of the local economy, WFP initiated an unconditional cash transfer programme in December when signs of market recovery became visible and financial delivery mechanisms became available in certain areas. The cash grant aimed to satisfy the additional food and non-food requirements of affected families as well as stimulate the local economy. WFP leveraged on the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) by topping up the government grant for two rounds with a fixed emergency cash assistance of PHP1,300 per 4Ps household. WFP also worked with NGOs to reach those who are not 4Ps members, but have also been severely affected by the typhoon. In total, nearly 530,000 individuals in 61 municipalities in the affected provinces were supported with cash assistance.

Noemi Kho, a mother to 5 children, had lost her husband during the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan.

“It was a huge, life-changing loss,” Noemi shared. “It made me realize that life is too short. If you have something to say to your loved ones, say it while they’re alive. You don’t know if they’ll be gone tomorrow.”

For Noemi, the cash grant helped her purchase other food needs, clothes, and school materials for her children.

“On behalf of the members of the 4Ps, we are thankful to WFP, because even in such a short amount of time, you were a big help to us in providing for our children,” said Noemi.

The family now lives in a temporary bunkhouse provided by the DSWD. Noemi has a new business selling t-shirts to tourists in MacArthur Landing Memorial Park.

Noemi radiates resilience as she shares how they are coping after Haiyan.

“I will manage, for my children,” she declared. “I don’t show helplessness in front of them. When my children realized their father was gone, they asked, ‘Ma, where will we go? Who will take care of our education?’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, you will all go to school, you will all be fed.’ That’s what I told my children, so now I give them hope.”

Nutrition support to the most vulnerable

To address health and hunger risks in the typhoon-affected communities, resources and efforts were also specifically devoted to vulnerable mothers and children who were at risk of acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, especially those who were taking refuge in evacuation centres. WFP, in partnership with the Department of Health, the National Nutrition Council, UNICEF, NGOs, and LGUs, fielded nutrition interventions.

Rubilyn Mansalay, Rizalina’s youngest child, was one of over 141,000 recipients of WFP’s nutrition support.

“The living conditions in the evacuation center made it difficult for my family. I worried about my children’s health, especially for my youngest daughter. Rubilyn was getting thinner and weaker, so when WFP informed me that she would be included in their nutrition programme, I was very happy and felt reassured that things will get better.”

Under WFP’s blanket and targeted supplementary feeding programmes, Rubilyn received ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSFs) such as Plumpy’Doz and Plumpy’Sup. These RUSFs provide young children with the vital nutrients they need during the important days of early development, a period placed at risk during times of emergencies.

A year has passed since Haiyan made landfall and during this period, WFP, through the assistance of the rural health unit, has been able to help Rubilyn and other young children maintain their good health and nutritional status allowing them to combat diseases and other long term effects of malnutrition during this critical period in the aftermath of the storm.

“When I see how healthy my daughter is now, I can’t help but smile. I am thankful that I still have my loved ones and that they are healthy because of the assistance from WFP and its donors.”

Philippines: Rebuilding the Philippines After Typhoon Yolanda through Sustainable Initiatives

7 November 2014 - 10:53am
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Philippines

November marks the first year since Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan), the category five typhoon that swept across central Philippines; leaving over 6,000 people dead, thousands more missing and severely affecting the lives of at least 7 million others. Loss of homes, assets, livelihoods and infrastructures were widespread.

As the people of Philippines and the international community remember the lives lost and recognize the resiliency of survivors, ACF recalls one year of actions and looks to a future of restorative efforts to help provide the unmet needs of affected communities.

ACF's emergency response began 72 hours after the typhoon hit, with food and water deliveries in the most affected areas: Tacloban and Roxas. A year later, ACF has been on the ground every day addressing the immediate needs of the population, particularly children under five, pregnant and lactating women, single female-headed households, the elderly, and persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

"The first months after the typhoon, the survivors faced enormous challenges. One year later, they are on the road to recovery thanks to combination of impressive personal effort, an amazing spirit of resilience in the face of disaster and the collaboration of the local and national government units and the international community. The challenge, now, is to continue past year’s gains focusing on the long-term recovery, be it the improvement of their livelihoods or activities for the mitigation of the impact of future disasters”, says Eduardo de Francisco, ACF’s Director for the Yolanda Response.

ACF International has worked closely with partners and local government bodies in delivering programmes on nutrition and psychosocial support; water, sanitation and hygiene; food security and livelihoods. All of these integrate gender issues, disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and care for the environment. These have gone from the life-saving interventions of the first days to long-term, sustainable solutions for the affected population. All in all, our interventions have reached 555, 375 people.

“ACF exists because hunger and malnutrition persists. We work in emergency and development context, save lives and help rebuild livelihoods,” says Javad Amoozegar, Country Director.

For interviews with our spokespersons, please contact Rosa May de Guzman - Maitem at +63 998 998 5461 or rmaitem@ph.acfspain.org

www.accioncontraelhambre.org / www.actionagainsthunger.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ACF.Philippines Twitter: www.twitter.com/ACF_Philippines Youtube: ACFphilippines Flickr: www.Acf_International

Philippines: ACF, Canada continues rebuilding initiatives one year after Haiyan

7 November 2014 - 9:41am
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Canada, Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - ACF International (Action Against Hunger), the world’s leading organization in the fight against malnutrition, continues to support typhoon survivors one year after typhoon ‘Yolanda’ lashed the central Philippines.

ACF International has implemented two projects worth approximately $3.75 million CAD to restore livelihoods and access to water for over 100, 000 individuals in Leyte and Iloilo , two of the worst-hit provinces in Typhoon Haiyan’s (Yolanda) path. Restoring livelihoods and critical services, such as safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, are essential to prevent public health risks and malnutrition from taking root.

The organization has received funding from the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) to support 115,000 highly vulnerable people, including children under five, pregnant and lactating women, persons with disabilities and chronic illness, single female-headed households and the elderly.

“We are thankful for the commitment of the Canadian government to helping the affected families recover what they have lost, their welfare and self-sufficiency. We cannot reduce malnutrition without clean water and livelihoods to meet the needs of the affected families,” says Javad Amoozegar, Country Director of ACF International in the Philippines.

In Iloilo province, ACF is implementing cash-based interventions in the towns of Sara, Batad and Concepcion to help recover lost livelihoods. In Tacloban City, Tanauan, Sta. Fe, Jaro, Alang-alang, Ormoc City and Albuera in Leyte province, ACF has launched interventions to ensure access to safe water and sanitation and hygiene facilities.

“We are in the recovery phase and ACF is focusing on rehabilitating water networks, protecting livelihoods such as rice farming, and recovering productive resources—actions which further reduce vulnerability to malnutrition and health risks,” says Amoozegar.

One year after Typhoon Yolanda, ACF has restored essential basic services on the islands of Leyte, Samar, and Panay. ACF has also ensured that adequate disaster management expertise is available to reduce risk and mitigate the impact of future disasters to over 600,000 people.

“Behind these services and statistics are thousands of our beneficiaries working hard to improve their conditions, and supporters such as the Canadian government, enabling vulnerable populations to build resilience against future disasters,” says Amoozegar.

“The ACF team has been on the ground since the day Typhoon Haiyan struck, delivering immediate life-saving assistance to the affected populations. “One year after, ACF is working on long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation projects, rebuilding households, markets, livelihoods, and approaching recovery with risk management in mind, in order to prevent a disaster like this from happening again,” says Amoozegar.

ACF International has mobilized over 50 international staff and over 418 Filipino nationals, delivering critical life-saving support to the affected populations in disaster zones in the Philippines. ACF’s dedicated teams are working with communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan, as well as the conflict in Zamboanga and the earthquake in Bohol. ACF is also contributing to poverty reduction in Central Mindanao through its integrated development projects.

About ACF

ACF international (Action Against Hunger) is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. ACF responds to help vulnerable populations around the world through programs that empower communities to overcome the barriers standing in their way.

In the Philippines, ACF tackles the root causes of hunger, prevents outbreaks of life-threatening acute malnutrition, and helps the most vulnerable communities regain self- sufficiency through integrated programs in Health & Nutrition, Care Practices & Psychosocial Support, Food Security & Livelihoods, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Disaster Risk Management, Good Governance & Advocacy while incorporating crosscutting issues such as gender, care for the environment, climate change adaptation and cultural sensitivity.

Our programs save lives and provide communities with long-term solutions to hunger and its underlying causes. We work in more than 45 countries and reach approximately 7 million people annually.

For more information, please visit www.actionagainsthunger.org.

For interviews with our spokespersons in Manila, Leyte, Samar and Panay, please contact Rosa May de Guzman - Maitem at +63-999-673-9099, rmaitem@ph.acfspain.org

Rosa May de Guzman Maitem
Communication Manager
ACF International Philippine Mission

Philippines: What slows Haiyan recovery - politics or practicality?

7 November 2014 - 9:06am
Source: IRIN Country: Philippines

TACLOBAN, 7 November 2014 (IRIN) - A year after one of the world’s most devastating typhoons swept through the Philippines, thousands are unable to resume their lives, with rehabilitation efforts bogged down by political divisions and bureaucracy, officials and survivors say.

In the village of Basper in the storm’s epicentre of fatalities, white wooden crosses have been erected over a mass grave for some 3,000 victims, nearly half of the entire official death toll (6,300); thousands more remain missing.

The bodies are still unidentified, and survivors with missing relatives have randomly placed crosses with the names of their dead, in a heart-breaking ritual of acceptance.

“There was no DNA testing done and they were just brought here. But at least they now have a permanent home. It gives us a feeling of closure knowing that whenever we want to visit them there is a place we can go to,” said Esmeralda Ignacio, 68, as she and her niece, Lynette de la Cruz, inspected the crosses.

Nearly a year ago, victims’ families were already calling for DNA verification, as officials pleaded for more time.

“It has been very slow, and it is very, very difficult to get back to the business of living when you can’t properly give your dead the burial they deserve,” said Ignacio of the government’s rehabilitation efforts and her family’s quest for their kin’s bodies.

“We went to City Hall, but no one could tell us where to get these documents. No one seems to know what to do,” she said.

She said the family is resigned to the fact they may never really find the victims’ bodies. But that, too, also poses a problem. Without a body, they cannot be issued death certificates, a necessary document to claim legal benefits, including insurance, among others.

Dwindling aid

Across town, Lita Paa huddled her five children under the tent for a quick meal of sardines and rice, the last of the family’s food rations received for the month. Aid has begun to run down, and even if she wanted to work, she couldn’t.

Paa’s family is among hundreds that still live in tents in the coastal village of Baybay. They were promised relocation in the government’s “build back better” programme, but it has yet to be realized.

“The biggest question no one can give us an answer to is: when?” she said.

The typhoon’s overall emergency relief efforts were funded at 60 percent by the end of October, as tracked by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with a $92 million shortfall for emergency shelter and $50 million for “food security”.

Aid agencies had been quick to give the fishing community boats so they could resume their livelihoods, but the municipal bay in Tacloban remains littered with tons of debris that has wiped out rich fishing grounds. The men cannot fish too far away in the open sea with their little boats, many of which now lie idle on the beach and which the fishermen jokingly call “solar boats” drying under the sun.

Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on 8 November last year, bringing devastating winds that at their peak hit 300km an hour. It left thousands dead and displaced nearly one million people, according to government data. It swept across the Philippines’ central islands from the Pacific, cutting a swathe of destruction in 171 (out of the country’s nearly 1,500) municipalities and making four landfalls.

The hardest hit areas were in and near Tacloban in Leyte Province, a coastal city of 250,000 people before the disaster hit. About 90 percent of the province was damaged, when huge waves swallowed up villages, while strong winds blew away homes.

Over 25,000 still in tents, bunk houses

One year later, the government and UN statistics say at least 25,000 people still live in tents and bunk houses. Observers say that while the emergency response was quick, bureaucracy and politicking has slowed reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“We only have about 100 of the promised 14,500 permanent homes finished. The government can only work with the resources it has, and you have to understand this is a massive rehabilitation and recovery effort,” Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez told IRIN.

“It is now primarily a shelter issue. That remains to be the problem here,” said Tacloban’s mayor, adding that a new township for those affected in his city was being built further inland, but this was being met by some resistance from survivors fearing a lack of jobs away from the city.

“We are adjusting to a new normal here and people have to understand that the situation is unique. We are relocating people because we want to save their lives,” he said. “People oppose change, but that is where we are headed.”

Romualdez has openly accused the government of President Benigno Aquino of neglecting his city on account of politics. The mayor and president come from rival political families.

“The bottleneck is in the resources, and trying to get these [government] agencies to begin implementing the projects identified,” Romualdez added.

At best, he said international NGOs are the ones who have helped the most. Up to 1 August, nearly 1,300 private sector/NGO projects were reported to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).

President Aquino signed a US$3.73 billion, 8,000-page, eight-volume rehabilitation and recovery master plan - submitted to him in early August - in late October, nearly one week before the one year anniversary.

The plan, among others, is to build nearly 200,000 homes that can resist storms with 250km per hour winds, and rehabilitate damaged irrigation systems, roads, bridges and sea- and airports.

About one percent of those homes have been built, even as the government has released an initial $1.15 billion in reconstruction funds, an OPARR spokesman said in late October.

Back at a bunk house in Palo, on the outskirts of Tacloban, despair is as suffocating as the humidity. Tents and roofs leak, and jobless men have often resorted to drinking to pass the time, resulting in chaos and fights.

“Life here is very hard. There is a problem in drainage system, and it floods regularly. We are worried that this could cause diseases,” said mother of six Emma Zurita, 52, who was a voice lesson teacher. She has now turned to gardening for some income.

“You do what you can to survive. You can’t wait for aid all the time.”

aag/pt/cb

Philippines: Un año después del tifón, Filipinas renace

7 November 2014 - 8:42am
Source: Caritas Country: Philippines

En estos 12 meses, la red Cáritas ha apoyado a casi 800.000 damnificados y Cáritas Española ha aportado 1,5 millones de euros

Cáritas. 7 de noviembre de 2014.- Mañana se cumple un año de la llegada del tifón Haiyan a las costas filipinas. Ocurrió el 8 de noviembre de 2013 y su impacto --con vientos de más de 300 kilómetros por hora y lluvias torrenciales-- fue devastador para el país y sus ciudadanos.

La ONU estima que, de una u otra manera, Haiyan afectó al 40 por ciento de la población, que vio cómo el huracán más fuerte de la historia de Filipinas arrasaba sus pueblos y ciudades, derribaba sus casas, destruía sus medios de vida (cultivos y embarcaciones de pesca, sobre todo) y causaba la muerte de más de 6.000 personas.

El desastre desencadenó una fuerte solidaridad nacional e internacional. Desde el primer momento, miles de voluntarios filipinos acudieron a las islas más afectadas –el archipiélago central de las Visayas, sobre todo– para ayudar a los damnificados, mientras las organizaciones humanitarias comenzaron a distribuir asistencia humanitaria de primera necesidad y a canalizar la ayuda que venía del exterior.

Apoyo de la red Cáritas desde el primer momento

La Iglesia y Cáritas Filipinas/NASSA, con el apoyo de la red internacional de Cáritas y Cáritas Española, fueron las primeras instituciones en responder a la emergencia a través de las comunidades locales y los equipos de voluntarios de las parroquias, que movilizaron recursos personales y materiales incluso antes de la llegada de Haiyan.

La red Cáritas se volcó para atender a las comunidades más vulnerables de entre los 4 millones de desplazados por el tifón y las 1,1 millones de familias que vieron como sus casas quedaban destruidas o gravemente dañadas.

En un primer momento, la ayuda de Cáritas se centró en garantizar la respuesta a las necesidades más urgentes de los damnificados, como agua, alimentos, higiene, abrigo y refugio temporal. Tras esta primera fase, a las pocas semanas del desastre comenzaron las tareas de rehabilitación, con el objetivo prioritario de que las personas afectadas pudieran recuperar lo antes posible sus hogares y medios de vida. Cabe recordar que Haiyan devastó 600.000 hectáreas de cultivos y daño 28.500 barcos pesqueros.

“Nuestra acción más importante debía ser ayudarles a que tuvieran una casa y medios de vida, pero también darles esperanza y un poco de preparación para lo que pueda pasar en el futuro, incluyendo otro tifón” explica el padre Melton Oso, miembro de Cáritas Filipinas, al hacer memoria del trabajo realizado.

800.000 personas apoyadas y 135 millones de euros recaudados

En estos 12 meses, Caritas Filipinas, apoyada por Cáritas Española y otras 42 Cáritas donantes de todo el mundo, ha apoyado a casi 800.000 personas afectadas por el tifón, gracias a los 135 millones de euros recaudados en todo el mundo.

Con esos fondos y el trabajo diario de las propias familias damnificadas y los voluntarios, se han edificado 3.743 alojamientos permanentes resistentes a tifones, construido más de 35.000 instalaciones de suministro de agua potable y ayudado a 10.125 hogares a disponer de alimentos y de medios de vida que les permita ser autosuficientes.

“Nuestro objetivo es construir bien, construir mejor; así, si viene otro Haiyan no podrá llevarse nuestra casa”, afirma John Manuel, una de las personas que perdió su vivienda por el tifón.

1,5 millones de euros aportados hasta la fecha por Cáritas Española

Las aportaciones solidarias de los donantes españoles canalizadas por Cáritas Española hacia Cáritas Filipinas han permitido mejorar la vida de John Manuel y otros miles de compatriotas suyos. En total, Cáritas Española ha aportado hasta la fecha 1.200.000 euros a los sucesivos llamamientos de ayuda de emergencia de Cáritas Filipinas. A esos fondos hay que sumar otra partida de 300.000 euros recién enviados a la Archidiócesis de Palo para la construcción de un centro polivalente, que hará las funciones de dispensario médico, de hogar para niños abandonados y de centro de acogida para personas mayores.

Esta aportación fraterna de Cáritas Española no habría sido posible sin el apoyo de toda la Confederación Cáritas en España y la activa participación de las Cáritas Diocesanas y Parroquiales, que han movilizado a las comunidades cristianas y a toda la sociedad en solidaridad con los damnificados de Filipinas.

El programa de rehabilitación de Cáritas en Filipinas va a seguir desarrollándose a lo largo de tres años. Cuenta con un presupuesto previsto, sólo para este primer año, de 9,7 millones de euros, que se destinarán fundamentalmente a continuar la reconstrucción de viviendas, la recuperación de medios de vida (cultivos y aparejos agrícolas, ganadería y barcos de pesca, entre otros), y la rehabilitación de las redes de agua corriente y saneamiento.

Protagonismo de las propias comunidades

Son las mismas comunidades locales las que están dirigiendo los esfuerzos realizados para la reconstrucción. Cáritas sólo les acompaña a la hora de diseñar su propia respuesta al tifón que cambió sus vidas y a prepararse ante un posible nuevo fenómeno natural extremo. Toda la comunidad trabaja en equipo para elaborar mapas de riesgo, que incluyen, entre otra información, la ubicación de cada casa de la aldea, los materiales de qué está hecha, cuántos miembros integran la familia, si hay niños, ancianos o personas con discapacidad, etc. Toda esa información ayuda a definir la vulnerabilidad de cada hogar y a adoptar medidas para reducir dicha vulnerabilidad ante un nuevo tifón o terremoto.

“No estamos construyendo una casa; estamos construyendo una familia, una comunidad, y una Iglesia más fuerte y unida”, asegura el padre Melton Oso.

Prensa: Marisa Salazar (619.26.89.39) – Angel Arriví (91.444.10.16 - 619.04.53.81)

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Anniversary Highlights Need for Disaster Preparedness: IOM

7 November 2014 - 6:20am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Philippines

Philippines - On 8th November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Visayas region of the Central Philippines, killing over 6,300 people and leaving four million homeless. Over a million houses were destroyed by the strongest recorded storm in history and the damage ran into billions of dollars. A year later, IOM is highlighting the need for better preparedness and response systems to avert future tragedies in the Philippines and elsewhere.

IOM had staff on the ground within 48 hours of Haiyan making landfall. In the days and months that followed, the agency took a lead in tracking displacement, building up a reliable and real-time picture of the most urgent challenges, and responding to the most acute shelter, protection and health-related needs.

During the first six months, IOM teams distributed over 97,000 non-food items including blankets, buckets and solar lamps and 63,000 emergency shelter kits comprising tarpaulins, ropes, nails and hammers. Over 100,000 individuals received medical help and communication teams are still working with communities to provide thousands of affected families with practical advice and a channel to air their concerns.

IOM is now focusing on the large scale recovery phase and has distributed more than 30,000 recovery shelter kits (a package including coco lumber, metal roofing, and other construction materials), training in safer shelter construction, cash grants and construction monitoring. All of this is designed to help affected families to improve and rebuild their damaged homes.

The massive recovery project includes the construction of transitional shelters designed to last for a minimum of two years, until durable housing solutions are identified. Almost 1,500 such shelters have been built and additional 400 are under construction. The multi-agency effort is ensuring that the transitional sites offer access to water, sanitation and protection services, as well as shelter.

To help rebuild the region’s shattered infrastructure and to promote economic recovery, IOM’s shelter programme is helping local farmers to process and mill fallen coconut trees. IOM uses this local coco lumber from fallen or damaged coconut trees in its shelters, providing a source of cash for affected farming families, and speeding up debris removal.

IOM has also supported livelihood recovery through a Cash-for-Work programme. In Guiuan alone, activities have so far created 116,000 person-days of work – significantly supporting the economic recovery of affected communities.

Besides IOM’s own shelter assistance, the organization is supporting the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development to build transitional sites in Tacloban City and Guiuan, which was officially opened today in a ceremony attended by Philippines President Benigno Aquino III.

“This was an unprecedented disaster, both in terms of the lives lost and lives disrupted,” said IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Marco Boasso. “The government and the international community mounted a massive response – perhaps too slowly at first – but we have learned a lot. First and foremost, one year after Haiyan, we know that we need to be better prepared for future disasters so that next time communities will be prepared and ready to act.”

“One thing we can be sure of is that weather-related disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense, and affecting more people. It is our obligation and our duty to respond, but also to prepare and to mitigate the impact. We cannot rest on our laurels when so much is at stake,” he warned.

Boasso pointed to the training of over 40,000 people in safer construction practices as testament to the organization’s commitment to disaster risk reduction. IOM has also assessed the condition of evacuation centres in the worst-affected region and worked on hazard and vulnerability mapping. It is also warehousing shelter materials, tarpaulins, blankets, solar lamps and medicines to allow faster response in future disasters.

A year after the disaster, not enough land has been yet identified (or is available) to build sufficient and safe transitional sites. Some 4,500 displaced families continue to live in displacement sites across the Haiyan-affected region, many of them in unsuitable conditions. Improved shelter, health, protection and communication are urgently needed in Haiyan-affected regions. While addressing these needs, IOM will continue to support the government in its medium and long-term recovery and rehabilitation plans.

“Thanks to the resilience of the Filipino spirit, the generosity of the international community, and the partnership of organizations like IOM, what was ground zero is now on much higher ground,” said Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, who has worked closely with IOM staff, particularly in Tacloban and Guiuan, in the year since the disaster.

For more information please contact IOM Philippines Joe Lowry Email: jlowry@iom.int Tel. +63 915 8125566

Or

Marco Boasso Email: mboasso@iom.int Tel. +63 9178485306 (Both are currently in Tacloban.)

Philippines: 1-year on from Typhoon Haiyan, thousands of people still rebuilding lives

7 November 2014 - 6:07am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Philippines

This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva.

A year ago tomorrow (8 November) Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record anywhere – ran ashore in the central Philippines, causing wide devastation and killing at least 6,300 people. A year on, and the recovery work still goes on. While most of the 4.1 million people who were displaced have either returned home to rebuild, or been relocated, solutions are still needed for some 20,000 people either living in shelters or – in a small number of cases – with host families.

Together with the Philippines Government, UNHCR has brought help over the past year to more than 700,000 of the most vulnerable typhoon survivors, providing vital relief aid including tents, plastic sheets, blankets, hygiene kits, jerry cans, kitchen sets and solar lanterns. Help has also come from the private sector: A Singaporean franchise owner of furniture company IKEA donated mattresses for hospitals, Japan’s UNIQLO provided clothing, while Swedish firm Husqvarna donated chainsaws to clear felled trees that were later used to rebuild homes.

In the early phase of the recovery effort, UNHCR started a free mobile civil registration project to reconstitute lost civil records and issue legal documentation – important so that people can access state benefits. Some 80,000 documents have been issued including birth, marriage, and death certificates. UNICEF will pick up the project and scale up coverage further in the coming months.

UNHCR’s focus today is the situation of the 20,000 people still living in 56 displacement sites across typhoon-affected areas. A recent protection assessment found that people still need help with physical dwellings, water and sanitation, hygiene, as well as land and property issues.

In Tacloban, Eastern Samar and some other areas, local authorities have provided temporary shelters and explained to people that they will have to stay there for two years while the search to find permanent relocation continues. These efforts are complicated by the shortage of suitable and the lack of services to make relocation sustainable.

UNHCR and its partners have been monitoring the situation of the families in the remaining displacement sites. We’ve worked to strengthen the government’s capacity to ensure that basic services are provided and that the rights of the displaced people – including their right to voluntary return or relocation – are respected.

In areas that were immediately impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, UNHCR has since handed over its work to the government, local authorities, NGOs and development organizations.

At the same time, we continue to highlight the urgent need for the Philippines to adopt legislation to protect the rights of internally displaced people - in what is one of the world’s most natural disaster-prone countries. The bill would also provide a much-needed legislative framework to allow state authorities to protect and assist people displaced as a result of the decades-long conflict in the southern Philippines.

The passage of this legislation would be very timely as the country welcomes crucial steps in attaining sustainable peace in the southern Philippines. These steps could pave the way for millions of citizens to rebuild their lives through local settlement, voluntary return or relocation throughout Mindanao.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

In Tacloban: Keneath Bolisay, +63 915 592 1568 In Manila: Marie Michelle Liquigan, +63 918 920 8765 In Bangkok (regional office), Vivian Tan, +63 818 270 280 In Geneva: Babar Baloch, +41 79 557 9106 END

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan: one year on

7 November 2014 - 4:59am
Source: Oxfam Country: Philippines

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc across much of the central Philippines. More than 5,000 people were killed and 4 million were forced from their homes.

The disaster delivered a double blow. In the short term, it left more than 14.1 million people in need of immediate, life-saving assistance. But it also pushed millions of poor people further into poverty. Rice crops, coconut trees and fishing boats were wiped out, leaving people struggling to grow food and earn an income.

Thanks to Oxfam’s supporters around the world, we have been able to reach more than 860,000 people.

Our first priority was to provide life-saving assistance, such as clean water, toilets, hygiene kits, and cash to buy food and other essentials. We then began helping people to recover the livelihoods that had been destroyed by the disaster.

One year on from the disaster, the emergency phase of our response has finished. Now our focus is on long term recovery and rehabilitation. One way we’re doing this is by planning how water and sanitation facilities will be managed on a permanent basis. We’re also looking at how people will be able to earn a living.

Water and sanitation for the long term

We are now working with local governments on how they will manage the water supply.

In June, we finished constructing 41 semi-permanent toilets in Tacloban, as well as 41 bathing spaces, water storage and tap stands. We’ve handed the project over to the Tacloban City authorities, who will manage the operation and maintenance of the facilities with the support of local organisations.

In eastern Samar, we have been working to improve water and sanitation facilities in schools. Now, we are installing a new type of permanent toilet that includes hand washing facilities, disabled friendly access and better gender segregation.

Helping people earn a living

The devastation Haiyan caused to people’s livelihoods was immense – it badly affected their ability to work and earn a living. 74% of the fishing communities in areas affected by the storm lost their main source of income.

We provided people with emergency income so they could buy food and other essentials, like clothes and materials to repair their homes or recover their businesses. We’ve supported 107,000 families in the form of cash, vouchers or cash for work.

We also helped provide training and equipment to affected communities in coconut farming, seaweed farming, fishing and rice farming. We also helped repair boats and offered cash for work clearing debris from the community and mangroves, so that families would be able to buy their own new equipment.

Over the coming months, we will develop long-term, sustainable means for people to make a living independently.

Shelter and homes

In the emergency phase of our response, Oxfam provided 4,690 families with emergency materials to repair their houses, such as tarpaulin, tools and nails. Throughout the course of the year we have also helped people build shelters, for example by giving cash and vouchers so people had the money they needed to buy materials and make repairs.

But thousands of people are still living in inadequate shelters, such as tents, damaged houses or temporary shelters provided by the government called bunkhouses.

The government has plans to relocate families who have been made homeless and families living in areas seen as dangerously close to the coast. We are working to make sure that the people affected are sufficiently consulted about these plans, that the new locations have facilities like clean water and electricity, and that people will have the means to make a living.

The issue of shelter is one the government needs to resolve. We’re working with them, to advise and lobby on improvements to their plans.

Next steps: reconstruction and resilience

The emergency phase of our response provided life-saving support to millions. But challenges remain in the transition to long term development.

We continue to work to ensure that:

  • communities are relocated to safe areas and that affected communities are consulted
  • livelihoods and vulnerability to future disasters are taken into consideration
  • the government speeds up adaptation and risk reduction plans across the country.

Funds and technical assistance are available and directly accessible to local governments and communities.

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon haiyan one year on

7 November 2014 - 4:39am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Video: Philippines: Typhoon haiyan one year on

It is one year since Haiyan, the world's worst typhoon, struck central Philippines on 8 November 2013, making landfall with 300 km winds and 5-metre waves. Communities were left without food, electricity, water or any means of contacting their relatives. More than 16 million people were affected. Over 6,300 died and more than 4 million were displaced. An estimated 1.14 million homes were damaged or destroyed.

A year on, survivors are still trying to recover from the unprecedented devastation. While a number of communities have repaired or rebuilt damaged houses - be it from the assistance they received or through their own remarkable efforts - some communities are still in need.

Edmundo Pabello, a farmer from Samar Island in the Philippines, lost his home and crops in the wake of typhoon Haiyan. He vividly recalls the days after the catastrophe, “Our houses here were badly damaged. We didn’t have food right after the typhoon. It was really difficult was several days.”

Given the destruction, he could not go back to farming right away. But on the flip side, the destruction meant a lot of reconstruction was necessary. So he enrolled to be trained as a carpenter. He wanted to rebuild his own storm-resilient home. “I have now made sure that our new house is strong enough. I even bought additional nails to make it sturdy”, he says.

In addition, he saw carpentry as a means to make a living while farming was not yet an option. He and his son were hired as carpenters by the Red Cross to help rebuild storm-resilient houses. “We learned a lot from the typhoon. Our houses were not resilient enough so they were destroyed”.

Over the past year, the ICRC in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross has trained over 560 carpenters on good construction principles for storm-resilient shelters and has built over 3,800 storm-resilient shelters. In addition, ICRC and PRC have also been involved in reconstructing health care facilities, providing medical equipment and supplies. Nearly 3,500 families received cash grants to resume their livelihoods in small businesses, agriculture and livestock, or to start an alternative livelihood activity.

Currently, Edmundo and his family live in his new home that he built himself with his new found skills. Like the rest of his community that mainly relies on farming, he hopes to go back to farming, “we don’t yet have a source of livelihood. But this is just for now because we still haven’t started our farming activities.”

While recovery is well under way, there are still humanitarian needs on the ground to help ensure people get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.

Philippines: A year after deadly typhoon, Philippines women weave their magic

6 November 2014 - 11:05pm
Source: Reuters - AlertNet Country: Philippines

By Roli Ng and Rosemarie Francisco

BASEY/MANILA, Philippines, Nov 7 (Reuters) - A year after one of the world's most powerful storms smashed into the Philippines, a group of women are stitching their lives back together by weaving colourful reeds used in handicrafts sold by the world's top retailers.

Read the full article on Reuters - AlertNet

Philippines: Building back better, safer and stronger

6 November 2014 - 3:30pm
Source: Plan Country: Philippines

Posted by Roger Yates, Plan Humanitarian Director

4 November 2014: One year ago, I flew over northern Cebu with Margareta Wahlström, the UN’s head of disaster risk reduction, to assess the damage Typhoon Haiyan had wreaked across the Philippines.

I still remember her words vividly. Haiyan must serve as a “wake-up call” for countries.

We were travelling by helicopter – one of the only ways to get around – after Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as ‘Yolanda’) hit the Philippines; an unprecedented category 5 storm that affected two-thirds of the country.

From my seat, I had a bird’s eye view of the disaster area - and it was a chilling sight. Houses had been washed away, coconut trees were flattened and mountains upon mountains of rubble could be seen, burying everything from fridges to bodies.

Living between disasters

The typhoon killed more than 6,200 people and affected over 14 million across the 44 provinces. As Humanitarian Director at Plan International, it is unfair to say the Philippines was unprepared for the typhoon. After all, this is a country that literally lives between disasters. Yet, that’s not something the media was or is particularly interested in.

The Philippines was only just getting over one disaster - a magnitude 7.2 earthquake - before this one struck.

It was yet another test to the country’s disaster preparedness measures, which if in place can be 10 times more effective than the response itself.

Did the communities understand the importance of evacuation and the devastating impact a tsunami-like wave could have, rather than being forced to evacuate?

Were the evacuation centres – many of which were schools – built to withstand the strength of this typhoon?

Did communities feel safe and supported? Were they assured that their homes would not be looted while they were away? Were the emotional needs of children accounted for?

The answer, for some communities, was yes. But for many, it was no. Haiyan wiped out many towns across Eastern Samar.

Zero dead, zero missing

Yet, in a few of the communities Plan International had been working with local authorities to drill people in evacuations.

In Balankayan, Eastern Samar, the chart declared “zero dead, zero missing, zero injured” of its 10,226 population. Yet neighbouring towns saw scores killed when the wrong buildings were chosen as evacuation centres or people stayed put.

Although Llorente was spared the most violent clutches of the typhoon, one third of the population still evacuated and followed the tsunami evacuation routes set up by Plan, escaping up a set of stairs to a safety shelter. Once Haiyan had passed, they were able to help their neighbouring communities.

Preparedness works

It proves that preparedness works and it’s imperative that these measures are put in place across the country as the Philippines embarks on its journey to build back better and safer.

For me, I care about the number of casualties from the many typhoons that will and do hit this archipelago. They are not statistics; they are people, families, children and lives to be saved – if appropriate measures, such as stronger roofing, protection against landslides or safer schools, are put in place.

Investing in disaster preparedness can and will save many lives – and for Filipinos, this starts from a young age.

This disaster-prone nation has publically committed to be a role model for safe schools and deliver a strong message to the 2015 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015* on the importance of protecting school children and students in their education environment, while Plan actively trains young people on preparing for disasters.

Building a culture of safety

For me and Plan, we have continued to build a culture of safety and to help communities, some we hadn’t previously worked in, to build back stronger and together over the past year. We have also encouraged young people and others to educate communities on the importance of disaster risk reduction and resilient communities.

Working together has been central to Plan’s response, through its ‘Building Back Better’ project in Tacloban City (one of the areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan). We have been working with government partners and 6,000 community members to build a disaster-resilient community that can serve as a model for other reconstruction efforts.

’Building Back Better’ means that community recovery efforts result in safer, more resilient buildings and infrastructure.

Yes, people can access safe drinking water and other services but, most importantly, it means working with communities on their recovery journey, involving them as partners in the recovery process, providing emotional support and building knowledge, community spirit and resilience. Things that aren’t seen immediately but can withstand any future challenge.

Mapping disasters

Other measures have also been put in place. 350 elementary and secondary school teachers have been trained on what to do in a disaster and how to prepare them, while 300 community members have been trained on mapping disasters, reducing the risk of disasters as well as climate change adaptation.

It’s only been one year since the world witnessed the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan, yet it’s fair to say we’ve come a long way.

However, this journey is by no means over. I care about these communities too much and I want to see them survive if and when another disaster strikes.

Support Plan's vital recovery work - donate to the Haiyan appeal

Philippines: Philippines: Building back better, safer and stronger

6 November 2014 - 3:30pm
Source: Plan Country: Philippines

Posted by Roger Yates, Plan Humanitarian Director

4 November 2014: One year ago, I flew over northern Cebu with Margareta Wahlström, the UN’s head of disaster risk reduction, to assess the damage Typhoon Haiyan had wreaked across the Philippines.

I still remember her words vividly. Haiyan must serve as a “wake-up call” for countries.

We were travelling by helicopter – one of the only ways to get around – after Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as ‘Yolanda’) hit the Philippines; an unprecedented category 5 storm that affected two-thirds of the country.

From my seat, I had a bird’s eye view of the disaster area - and it was a chilling sight. Houses had been washed away, coconut trees were flattened and mountains upon mountains of rubble could be seen, burying everything from fridges to bodies.

Living between disasters

The typhoon killed more than 6,200 people and affected over 14 million across the 44 provinces. As Humanitarian Director at Plan International, it is unfair to say the Philippines was unprepared for the typhoon. After all, this is a country that literally lives between disasters. Yet, that’s not something the media was or is particularly interested in.

The Philippines was only just getting over one disaster - a magnitude 7.2 earthquake - before this one struck.

It was yet another test to the country’s disaster preparedness measures, which if in place can be 10 times more effective than the response itself.

Did the communities understand the importance of evacuation and the devastating impact a tsunami-like wave could have, rather than being forced to evacuate?

Were the evacuation centres – many of which were schools – built to withstand the strength of this typhoon?

Did communities feel safe and supported? Were they assured that their homes would not be looted while they were away? Were the emotional needs of children accounted for?

The answer, for some communities, was yes. But for many, it was no. Haiyan wiped out many towns across Eastern Samar.

Zero dead, zero missing

Yet, in a few of the communities Plan International had been working with local authorities to drill people in evacuations.

In Balankayan, Eastern Samar, the chart declared “zero dead, zero missing, zero injured” of its 10,226 population. Yet neighbouring towns saw scores killed when the wrong buildings were chosen as evacuation centres or people stayed put.

Although Llorente was spared the most violent clutches of the typhoon, one third of the population still evacuated and followed the tsunami evacuation routes set up by Plan, escaping up a set of stairs to a safety shelter. Once Haiyan had passed, they were able to help their neighbouring communities.

Preparedness works

It proves that preparedness works and it’s imperative that these measures are put in place across the country as the Philippines embarks on its journey to build back better and safer.

For me, I care about the number of casualties from the many typhoons that will and do hit this archipelago. They are not statistics; they are people, families, children and lives to be saved – if appropriate measures, such as stronger roofing, protection against landslides or safer schools, are put in place.

Investing in disaster preparedness can and will save many lives – and for Filipinos, this starts from a young age.

This disaster-prone nation has publically committed to be a role model for safe schools and deliver a strong message to the 2015 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015* on the importance of protecting school children and students in their education environment, while Plan actively trains young people on preparing for disasters.

Building a culture of safety

For me and Plan, we have continued to build a culture of safety and to help communities, some we hadn’t previously worked in, to build back stronger and together over the past year. We have also encouraged young people and others to educate communities on the importance of disaster risk reduction and resilient communities.

Working together has been central to Plan’s response, through its ‘Building Back Better’ project in Tacloban City (one of the areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan). We have been working with government partners and 6,000 community members to build a disaster-resilient community that can serve as a model for other reconstruction efforts.

’Building Back Better’ means that community recovery efforts result in safer, more resilient buildings and infrastructure.

Yes, people can access safe drinking water and other services but, most importantly, it means working with communities on their recovery journey, involving them as partners in the recovery process, providing emotional support and building knowledge, community spirit and resilience. Things that aren’t seen immediately but can withstand any future challenge.

Mapping disasters

Other measures have also been put in place. 350 elementary and secondary school teachers have been trained on what to do in a disaster and how to prepare them, while 300 community members have been trained on mapping disasters, reducing the risk of disasters as well as climate change adaptation.

It’s only been one year since the world witnessed the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan, yet it’s fair to say we’ve come a long way.

However, this journey is by no means over. I care about these communities too much and I want to see them survive if and when another disaster strikes.

Support Plan's vital recovery work - donate to the Haiyan appeal

Philippines: Habitat for Humanity committed to long term reconstruction one year after Typhoon Haiyan

6 November 2014 - 1:29pm
Source: Habitat for Humanity International Country: Philippines

BANGKOK (November 8, 2014) – Global non-profit shelter organization Habitat for Humanity is progressing with construction of permanent homes at 10 sites in areas severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The typhoon that struck the Visayas area of the Philippines one year ago killed 6,300 people and damaged or destroyed more than one million homes, according to government figures.

“We started rebuilding just three months after Typhoon Haiyan struck and currently have close to 1,000 houses completed or under construction. The families who will live in these new houses have been identified at some project sites, with a similar determination process underway at the remaining locations. More funding is needed to continue rebuilding efforts,” said Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific Vice President.

“Scarcity of suitable land and available construction materials are some of the logistical challenges being faced. However, progress is being made and we know reconstruction is likely to take many years. Habitat for Humanity is committed to supporting affected families in the Visayas long term. Alongside building permanent homes, we are continuing to distribute shelter repair kits to aid the own recovery efforts of families affected by the typhoon,” continued Hathaway.

Construction work is underway at two sites in Cebu province and eight sites in Leyte province.

Habitat started distributing emergency shelter kits just days after Haiyan struck, shifting to shelter repair kits as needs changed. To date, Habitat has supported nearly 28,000 families with emergency shelter and shelter repair kits. Habitat for Humanity has also built temporary classrooms and supported families to develop livelihoods.

“We were too hungry and had to eat coconut flesh for three days,” recalled Babelyn Alon, 30, who fled with her family after Typhoon Haiyan ripped the roof off her house.

Babelyn has been helping Habitat for Humanity to build homes in barangay Maricaban on Bantayan island in Cebu province: “I’m building my house. I’m doing it for my kids so that they can have a permanent house. We would feel more protected and there is some buffer from strong winds.”

In addition to operations to help families affected by Typhoon Haiyan, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has also started rebuilding thousands of homes in Bohol for families affected by the earthquake that struck on 15 October 2013.

Since 1988, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has played an active role in working with families to build decent homes. Through a network of project offices in rural and urban areas, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has built and repaired tens of thousands of houses.

Donations can be made at give2habitat.org/philippines/ReBuildPhilippines

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and supports a variety of funding models that enable families with limited resources to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. Habitat has supported an estimated 1.5 million individuals in the Asia-Pacific region, where it has been active since 1983. To get more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit habitat.org/asiapacific or follow us at habitatfacebook.com/habitat.

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Anniversary: From ship to shore, a story of survival

6 November 2014 - 11:12am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Philippines

TACLOBAN, the Philippines, November 6 (UNHCR) – The big dredger looks menacing as it towers over the houses next to it. Children run around the ship, playing and seemingly unaware of the tragedy that placed it there. Somebody has nonetheless scribbled a message on the ship's hull, which tells a different story: Stupid Yolanda.

The dredger was home to Bartolome and his family, together with 37 other families, for three weeks after Typhoon Haiyan hit the island of Leyte in the Philippines on November 8 last year. Typhoons are not uncommon in the Philippines and, over the years, people have learnt what to do and how to cope. But this was no ordinary typhoon.

Haiyan, locally called Typhoon Yolanda, swept over the central Phillipines with winds of 235 kilometres an hour and was one of the strongest typhoons to have ever hit the Southeast Asia nation. The storm affected around 14 million people and caused extensive damage to property. Entire communities were wiped out and the island of Leyte was especially affected. Thousands of people were killed on Leyte and elsewhere by the super storm.

"No one expected that the typhoon would be that strong. Yolanda was merciless," said Bartolome, sitting in his house built on pillars by the sea. "Everyone was aware that the typhoon was strong but the forecast was not that clear on how strong it would be."

Like many men, Bartolome sent his wife and children to an evacuation centre and stayed behind to guard his house. At his brother-in-law's house they huddled together and began preparing a meal, thinking it was just a question of waiting the storm out. But as the wind and rain increased, they saw the houses around them being blown away and destroyed one by one. Four people knocked on the door and asked to be let in. When the water began to rise they climbed up to the second floor, and then the roof.

"The rain and wind was so hard that it hurt when it touched your skin," said Bartolome. "My body was in pain. That's how strong the typhoon was."

As they were lying on the roof, he prayed that the waves would stop. By this point, they were almost as high as the house. Suddenly, a ship passed by and Bartolome thought that they were being saved. He soon realised that they were not rescuers. The people he saw waving from the ship were also survivors who had climbed onto the vessel.

When UNHCR found Bartolome and his family, they were living on the ship with other families in horrific conditions. They had no choice; their house was completely destroyed, the streets were full of debris and littered with rotting human and animal corpses. The stench was unbearable.

With the support of United Parcel Service (UPS), UNHCR provided Bartolome and his family with a solar-powered lantern, kitchen set, mats and a tent, helping them to move off the ship. As one of UNHCR's leading corporate partners, the shipment and logistics company contributed crucial funds to the immediate response and long-term recovery.

"I'm really thankful to UNHCR," said Bartolome. "They gave us a tent when they stopped by the ship. Not just to us but they also provided tents to other survivors of the whole province. I can't imagine what [the city of] Tacloban would look like without UNHCR and the other organizations."

The dredger remains a part of Bartolome's neighbourhood, reminding him of the awful events of the past. With the support he received from UPS and UNHCR, he quickly regained his strength and was able to swiftly rebuild his house. "I said we would be back in the house by the New Year, and I was right," said Bartolome proudly.

By Marjanna Bergman in Tacloban, the Philippines

Philippines: One year after Typhoon Yolanda: EYE SEE Photo Exhibition tells children’s stories of hope and resilience

6 November 2014 - 11:02am
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines

TACLOBAN, 6 November 2014 – One year after Super Typhoon Yolanda, children affected by the disaster are hopeful about what the future brings. The photography exhibition launched today entitled “Through the Eyes of Children – Stories of Hope and Resilience in Tacloban,” feature images by young photographers on how families are recovering and rebuilding their lives a year after the typhoon, as part of the EYE SEE project with Sony Corporation.

Twenty young photographers from different bunkhouses in Tacloban took part in a photography workshop organized by UNICEF and the Tacloban City Social Welfare Development office. Photography offers these children a chance to voice their emotions through the lens, paving the way to self-discovery and social participation.

Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in the Philippines, said, “Children are the most vulnerable in major natural disasters, but they are not passive victims; they play a vital role not only in helping to rebuild, but also in reducing risk and strengthening resilience in the longer term.

At this one year mark after Typhoon Yolanda, it was important for UNICEF to offer children the creative opportunity to have their voices heard. The children’s range of experience is widened and their eyes opened to possibilities beyond their circumstances. It encourages them to actively participate in their environment and hopefully become instruments of change in their own lives and the lives of their communities.”

Beyond expanding their creative horizons through photography, the true strength of photography is its ability to give a voice and a means of expression. The EYE SEE project also provides a platform for these children to meet with people living beyond their community, which not only expands their range of experiences, but also makes known to them that they are not alone.

Above all, it encourages them to think of the possibilities beyond their circumstances, and become instruments of change in their own lives and the lives of their communities.

opet Arce, 16, voted by his fellow young photographers as the Best Photographer said the workshop has had a positive change on him. “I never really thought I had any talent in photography. Who knew it could open my eyes to a lot of things, and make me look at life differently? Maybe this is where my future is” he says.

First organised in Pakistan after the October 2005 earthquake, EYE SEE was initially focused on documenting children’s experiences in displacement camps. Guided by their CSR philosophy “For the Next Generation”, Sony has supported 17 EYE SEE workshops for children living in 14 countries, affected by disasters such as the 2011 Tsunami in Japan.

“Sony shares the same belief as UNICEF in the significance of children in shaping the next generation, and trust the power of imaging to provide the creative expression and inspiration for them to do so” said Mr. Nobuyoshi Otake, President & Managing Director of Sony Philippines. “EYE SEE not only gives them a voice, but more importantly a platform for them to share their stories of tenacity and hope with the rest of the world.”

Beyond the photo exhibition, Sony has supported communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda with aid and volunteer work via employee engagement, and will continue to share the travelling exhibit on social media.

UNICEF’s response to Typhoon Yolanda continues with the agency now focused on long-term development work to empower communities in their recovery. Over the last twelve months, UNICEF has rapidly scaled up humanitarian action, working in partnership to help local governments, civil society partners and communities, to build back better.

“Through the Eyes of Children – Stories of Hope and Resilience in Tacloban” will be on display until 15 January 2015 in Robinsons Place Tacloban, and on November 20 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia. Photos can also be viewed on the EYE SEE portal site at www.sony.net/eyesee and the UNICEF Philippines Flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/unicefphils.

Philippines: One year after the super typhoon hit Philippines – FCA has built 47 classrooms in the disaster areas

6 November 2014 - 9:40am
Source: Finn Church Aid Country: Philippines

Saturday, 8th of November, marks the one-year anniversary of the historically powerful typhoon Haiyan hitting Philippines. Immediately after the disaster struck, Finn Church Aid distributed emergency relief to the region. Finns donated one million euros to the catastrophe fund. Now, one year later, FCA has built 47 classrooms in the affected region.

”The schools have been happy with how fast we have completed the constructions, even though by Finnish standards it seems to have taken a long time. We have received a lot of positive feedback on the design of the schools”, Merja Färm, a Team Leader of the school construction project in Philippines, says.

The school construction project will be completed on the anniversary of the typhoon Haiyan. Funding for the construction of new classrooms came straight from Finnish donors. The project, which lasted a little less than a year, cost approximately one million euros.

“A school building, which can be assembled quickly and easily, was designed in Philippines. Its framework is based on ready-made sheet metal parts, which can be easily bolted together to make durable walls. A company was found near Manila that could design schools that are both hurricane-proof and approved by the school officials. They can also produce the metal frames”, Pasi Aaltonen, a Coordinator and architect for school construction, says.

The classrooms built by FCA are designed to last for fifteen years. They will most likely last longer than that. The responsibility for their maintenance has now been given to the authorities of Philippines.

“The new classrooms give opportunity for hundreds of children from poor rural areas to attend school in appropriate and safe spaces”, Merja Färm says.

Portion of the construction work was done with Cash for Work –Programme, which brought income to in-need people. A majority of the workers were parents of the school children of the area.

Haiyan left four million people homeless, killed over six thousand and destroyed practically everything on its path through the middle of the country.

Commemoration ceremony in Tacloban city on Saturday

This weekend, there will be a commemoration ceremony for those who perished in the typhoon. Despite the successes, a part of Filipinos are dissatisfied with the slowness of reconstruction work.

John Nduna, the Secretary General of churches’ catastrophe fund ACT Alliance, will give a speech in Tacloban on Saturday, as a representative of all the humanitarian aid organisations that took part in the aid operation. A monument to honour the victims of Haiyan will be revealed at the same time.

Climate Walk, a demonstration on the effects of climate change, left Manila 40 days earlier, being led by Yeb Sanon, Climate commissioner of Philippines. The walk will reach its destination Tacloban on Saturday. Thousands of candles will be set into the ocean in the evening.

Finn Church Aid’s employees Merja Färm and Ulla Kärki will be attending the event in Philippines.

Churches’ catastrophe fund ACT Alliance’s collective work efforts have reached over one million people in Philippines. Finn Church Aid is a member of Act Alliance, a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organisations. ACT Alliance operates in over 140 countries.

For additional information:

In Philippines:
Merja Färm, Team Leader for school construction project, tel. +63 9499136501, or +63 9176208547
Ulla Kärki, Communications Officer, tel. +358 50 576 7948, or +63 9178836939, or +63 998 557 6569

In Finland:
Eija Alajarva, Director of Humanitarian Assistance Unit, tel. + 358 40 582 1183
Pasi Aaltonen, Coordinator for School Construction, tel. + 358 40 6482 499

Philippines: The European Union continues its support for Yolanda victims and recalls the need to address climate change

6 November 2014 - 9:32am
Source: European Union Country: Philippines

As the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda), the strongest cyclone ever recorded is commemorated on 8th November, the European Union (EU) and its Member States continue their joint assistance to the rehabilitation of the communities in the affected areas.

The humanitarian assistance and early recovery interventions provided by the EU institutions to the survivors amounts to €43.57 million (ca. PHP 2.5 billion), while the overall EU's humanitarian assistance for Haiyan, including the funding coming from the Member States, amounts to €502.39 million (ca. PHP 28.5 billion). All these contributions have made a difference for around 1.2 million people. The EU's relief efforts continue to be carried out through partner organizations such as the World Food Programme, the International Federation of the Red Cross, UNICEF, Action Contre la Faim, Save the Children, CARE, Merlin, Plan International, Oxfam, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Marking the Typhoon Haiyan first anniversary, the EU acknowledges that despite the apocalyptic damage caused by this super-Typhoon, the transition from emergency to rehabilitation was quick, thanks to strength and unbroken resilience shown by the people of the Philippines, and thanks to combined efforts by aid agencies, donors, the concerned governments, including civil protection authorities, NGOs and budgetary authorities.

This enormous damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan at the same time showed the high vulnerability of the Philippines to the climate change.

Preventing dangerous climate change is a strategic priority for the EU and its Member States in order to combat the major risks it presents to global prosperity, security and equity. As a demonstration of the leadership and ambition that the EU and its Member States have exhibited on this issue, in October 2014 agreement was reached on a package of measures referred to as the EU 2030 package. Through this world leading package, the EU as a block will commit to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% domestically by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

With the vulnerability of the Philippines and the benefits for all that an ambitious climate change deal in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris 2015 can deliver, the EU and its Member States offer their assistance to the Philippines, looking forward to working together with the Philippines in the months ahead on the joint constructive and ambitious contribution to the success of the Paris conference.

Media Contact:
Thelma Gecolea
Public Affairs OfficerEU Delegation to the Philippines
Phone 09209661371

Philippines: In the Shadow of the Storm: Getting recovery right one year after typhoon Haiyan

6 November 2014 - 7:31am
Source: Oxfam Country: Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan – One year on and 1 million people still living in dangerous conditions as typhoon season hits

One year after Haiyan struck the Philippines nearly 1 million people made homeless are still living in makeshift shelters and are dangerously exposed to future typhoons, said international aid agency Oxfam.

There are 205,000 families living in ‘unsafe’ areas and only 1 percent of houses are built, said a new report published by Oxfam today called, In the Shadow of the Storm: Getting Recovery Right One Year After Typhoon Haiyan.

Oxfam said that significant progress had been made in the aftermath of the typhoon. However, the Philippine government now needs to show leadership in the relocation process for families.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. It killed 6,000 people and made 4 million people homeless, with many unable to return to their houses. An estimated 1 million homes were destroyed or severely damaged. It was the strongest recorded storm to have made landfall. Almost a year after the storm families continue to struggle, with risks of deepening poverty.

Oxfam has helped 870,000 people since the typhoon struck. It has supplied water pumps, community latrines, cash vouchers for food, fishing boat replacement and repairs, clearing coconut tree debris, and setting up sawmills to convert the debris into lumber for shelters.

Oxfam Great Britain chief executive, Mark Goldring, said: “The Oxfam appeal for typhoon Haiyan raised £5 million – the British people were incredibly generous. We have seen the people of the Philippines start to get back on their feet and carry on. The government has also shown leadership in the transition from emergency to recovery efforts. But now it should show how to 'build back better.’”

“It has yet to prove that through its relocation efforts. Relocating families is not only about houses it’s also about jobs, safety, transport. People are still living in overcrowded bunkhouses and in lean-to homes – if nothing is done to these areas the families living there are at risk from another typhoon in this increasingly storm hit area.”

According to the report, 205,000 families are still waiting to be re-housed. The families live in poor, makeshift shelters in areas prone to being hit by typhoons. As of October, less than 1 percent of homes had been built due to difficulties in buying safe land in the right place. Local authorities are straining because they lack skilled people, resources and clear policies from the government.

In the Shadow of the Storm was published alongside, Can’t Afford to Wait, a broader report from Oxfam on how reducing disaster risk and adapting to climate change across Asia needs to improve. This would help millions of poor people withstand climate related disasters, like typhoon Haiyan.

Goldring said: “If the risk of disasters is not adequately confronted, then the cards will continue to be stacked against poor people who bear the brunt of these catastrophes. Action in the Philippines must be backed up globally by actions to tackle these disasters.

“In Asia, it is often small food producers who often live in harm’s way. These families have no savings to tide them over after a disaster. It is they who will lose in the fight against climate change. Families are being forced to choose between safety and putting food on the table.”

//ENDS

For more information contact Christina Corbett on +44 (0)1865 47 2530 or +44 (0)7557 48 37 58 or ccorbett@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to editors:

In the Shadow of the Storm can be read here: http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/haiyan-shadow-storm

Can't Afford to Wait can be read here: http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/asia-climate-change-cant-afford-wait

The Disasters Emergency Appeal (DEC) - an appeal that is made up of Oxfam and 12 other UK charities - raised £95 million for typhoon Haiyan.

World: One year on global leaders must heed Haiyan warning

6 November 2014 - 7:17am
Source: Christian Aid Country: Philippines, World

November 8 marks the first anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest tropical storm ever recorded making landfall, which devastated large parts of the Philippines, killing 6,300. The death toll also made it one of the deadliest typhoons in recorded history.

In the year since Haiyan struck, Christian Aid partner organisations in the Philippines have reached 290,000 people, helping them rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

The anniversary coincides with the publication of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which this week warned that climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly.

It is against the backdrop of that sobering warning that the annual UN summit on climate change will open in Lima, Peru on December 1.

Christian Aid’s Principle Climate Change Adviser, Dr Alison Doig, today urged governments at the summit to take heed of the IPCC’s warnings, saying Haiyan was a frightening example of what the world can expect if drastic action is not taken.

“The scientific consensus is that extreme weather events such as Typhoon Haiyan will become more frequent, and more intense, unless we act to stop the impacts of climate change already evident such as rising sea levels, and the warming of the oceans becoming worse,” she warned.

“It is now abundantly clear that all countries need to transition to a low-carbon energy future, while at the same time protecting vulnerable people from the impacts of climate disasters.

“The IPCC report is quite clear. The only way to avoid disasters like Haiyan becoming a frequent occurrence is to act now, adapt to the effects of a changing climate and cut emissions to prevent climate change getting worse.

“The global climate deal which will be worked on in Lima and hopefully signed in Paris in December 2015 must be fair and ambitious, with countries focussed on keeping the temperature rise to well below 2oC degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“This will require many countries setting aside their own short term interests for the common good.”

Ends For more information contact Andrew Hogg at ahogg@christian-aid.org 0207 523 2058; The 24 hour Christian Aid press duty phone is 07850 242950.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

  2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change (http://www.christianaid.org.uk/images/partnership-for-change-summary.pdf) explains how we set about this task.

  3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

  4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

  5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

Philippines: Philippines: A Year After Typhoon, Mother Treasures School Awards

6 November 2014 - 3:44am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

After Typhoon Haiyan flattened her home in the Philippines, Analy’s first thought was to unearth the medals her children had won at school. The bits of ribbon and metal symbolised the family’s hopes of a better future. A year later, the family still has some rebuilding to do but Analy is happy to report that her children are back in school and hopes for the future are as vibrant as ever.

TANAUAN, LEYTE – Analy, 36, has always seen education as the key to a better life for her children. So when her home was smashed to pieces by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical storms ever recorded, it was the loss of her children’s school medals that pained her most.

“My children were crying because they saw their medals covered by our destroyed house,” she recalls, going onto to describe how the family painstakingly sifted through the rubble to find the dozen or so medals that were still there.

“The children gathered the medals one by one and dried them out in the sun. They are very important to me because my children really put in the effort to earn them.”

Assistance helped family recover

It is hugely important to Analy that one year after Typhoon Haiyan, all her children are back in school and studying hard. Her eldest daughter has even won a scholarship to study at the local university. He wants to train to be a teacher.

Analy says one of the things that made this possible was the assistance – food and cash – that her family received from WFP after the typhoon. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, it was basic food aid – in the form of rice included in family food parcels. Later came the financial assistance, aimed at helping vulnerable families rebuild and recover.

“My husband and I were so happy; we breathed a sigh of relief! The financial help we received from WFP allowed us to continue to provide for our children’s needs, especially for their food. We were also able to purchase school materials, medicines, vitamins, and clothes.”

The unconditional cash assistance programme helped over 500,000 people from 50 municipalities in Leyte, Samar, and Panay islands.

Analy and her husband Margarito were so determined to keep their children’s education in track that they even decided to postpone the rebuilding of their home so that money could be spent on school books.

Of course, it helps that Margarito is a carpenter. So the house he built for them just days after the typhoon is still standing and quite usable. Meanwhile, he earns money working on rebuilding homes for other people.

“We prioritize our children’s education so that’s where my husband’s salary goes. Even if our house is unfinished, it’s really important for us. We see that they are very interested in finishing their studies.”

"Children will never forget Haiyan"

Analy says her children were traumatised by their experience in the typhoon. As the water levels rose, they fled from their own house to that of a friend. The roof blew off the house they were sheltering in, leaving them exposed to the elements for days. “We felt hunger and cold,” she said.

Afterwards, for many weeks, the children would cry and cover their ears every time it rained. “Now, I think my children have recovered. But I know they will never forget what happened during the typhoon.”