Elisabeth is Action Against Hunger's senior communications officer, reporting on our impact and current events around the world.
Emergency Relief Efforts Scaled Up in Typhoon-Stricken Philippines
Incessant, heavy rain is making rehabilitation efforts challenging in the Surigao del Sur region of the Philippines, where Typhoon Bopha hit last month. But no challenge is too great for our Action Against Hunger emergency responders! We’ve distributed rice, oil, salt, sugar, canned meat, fish, and vegetables to some 12,000 individuals from 2,000 families.
And these families are surely in need. More than 6 million people survived the typhoon but lost their livelihoods, especially those who fish and who cultivate bananas and coconuts. “I’ve worked in the fields since I was a child,” explained local resident Brenda Lareno, 48. “Typhoon Bopha swept away my five hectacre coconut plantation in one sweeping wind. Our entire life was there. We have nothing.”
When conducting a rapid assessment in December, our team found thousands of people near the wreckage of their homes, in need of urgent help. We got quickly to work on not only on the food distributions, but also the rehabilitation of damaged water points, dissemination of hygiene awareness information, and provision of emergency hygiene kits. These programs have benefitted more than 18,000 Filipinos to date.
“Many people remain homeless, living in these harsh conditions. Children are suffering from diarrhea. Fields are destroyed. These hardships aside, the people of the Philippines are keeping their spirits high and their outlooks positive for 2013.”
—Helen Valencia, Emergency Team Lead, Action Against Hunger
Ernizilia Garay, a 25-year old mother of four young children from the coastal village of Palo Alto, holds onto that positivity. “We survived the might of Typhoon Bopha, all the more reason that we can survive in the days ahead. We are so thankful that more help is on the way.”
Our team of 90 has worked in the Philippines since 2000, running programs focused on nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene, food security, natural disaster prevention, and emergency response.
Tell Us What You Think
Our ACF staffer and one of the local residents interviewed in this piece say Filipinos remain hopeful and optimistic about their futures. Why are resilience and a positive attitude critical for those rebuilding after a natural disaster? What message of support would you like to send to those affected by Typhoon Bopha?