On the Ground in the Philippines: “The Situation is Terrible.”
In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Action Against Hunger’s teams have been working tirelessly to provide aid to vulnerable areas. Yesterday, we deployed an emergency response team from Manila to receive the second cargo plane carrying 21 tons of water and sanitation equipment and food rations into Tacloban. These emergency supplies are desperately needed: this devastating storm has left more than 11 million people without food, water, or shelter.
Devastation in Tacloban
Maffy Sibol, a water, sanitation and hygiene expert for Action Against Hunger in the Philippines, was one of the first of our staff members to arrive in Tacloban to assess the extent of the damage. She was shocked by what she saw:
“The situation is terrible. I have worked on numerous emergency responses to typhoons in the Philippines, but this is by far the worst. The affected area is huge! The roads are blocked, and the airport is practically destroyed. The military is trying to set up a temporary camp and to facilitate access to the runways so we can start distributing aid.”
– Maffy Sibol, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene team member, Action Against Hunger, Philippines
Scaling up emergency relief despite challenges
Given the magnitude of the disaster, Action Against Hunger is mobilizing a support team of over 30 people from its headquarters in Madrid and Paris to assist teams already on the ground in Cebu and Capiz. We have been present in the Philippines since 2000, so we have the background and skills necessary to work with local authorities and other organizations to assist affected communities. But our teams must overcome tremendous logistical challenges in order bring much-needed emergency relief. As Alvaro Villanueva, Director of Logistics for Action Against Hunger, explains:
“The emergency logistical challenges are still enormous because of the geography of the area and the scale of the disaster…. But the Phillipine government and the group coordinating the humanitarian response are working overtime to improve logistics in the coming hours so we can receive more supplies for the first phase of the relief efforts."
– Alvaro Villanueva, Director of Logistics, Action Against Hunger
Despite these obstacles, our teams are working hard to meet urgent needs for water, sanitation, and food. But we cannot do it without you. Your support helps us continue to provide relief for people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.