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The Philippines, One Month After Haiyan
One month after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, some fourteen million people across nine provinces are still feeling the effects of the deadly storm. Action Against Hunger’s emergency response teams continue to work tirelessly to provide safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene, food and shelter to those who have lost everything. So far, we’ve reached 650,000 people in need. As we respond to immediate needs, we’re also mapping out long-term recovery strategies in four key areas:
1. Water, sanitation and hygiene
In addition to providing emergency hygiene kits to displaced families, our teams are racing to reconstruct water and sanitation systems in affected areas. Amador Gomez, one of our Technical Directors, explained that improving access to safe sanitation is a critical part of recovery. “It is important to move, even little by little, from provisional solutions to the urgent rehabilitation of water and sanitation structures,” he said. “We must ensure the quality of water in homes that are being rebuilt, with an emphasis on public health. Since the affected areas are still very fragile, epidemics of waterborne diseases remain a serious public health risk.”
Our teams are working hard to prevent malnutrition in hard-hit areas by providing emergency food rations to people in need, conducting malnutrition screenings for children under age five and promoting care practices for mothers and babies. Because the affected areas already had higher rates of malnutrition than the rest of the country before the typhoon hit, it’s important for us to monitor how this crisis has impacted the nutritional status of these already vulnerable communities.
3. Food security and livelihoods
As we provide immediate assistance, we’re also planning for the rehabilitation phase. “We will continue to work with families and communities to restore lost livelihoods and design development plans for the long term,” said Julien Jacob, one of our heads of Food Security and Livelihoods. “We will provide seeds and tools for farmers, and boats and nets in coastal communities where fishing is an important source of income. We must also work with local markets and suppliers to build the capacity of economies in the affected areas.”
“We will continue to work with families and communities to restore lost livelihoods and design development plans for the long term.”
– Julien Jacob, Head of Food Security and Livelihoods, Action Against Hunger, Spain
4. Disaster preparedness
While the Philippines is prepared to handle natural disasters, Typhoon Haiyan was unusually strong, and there’s a chance of another storm like it hitting again. So our rehabilitation phase also includes plans for disaster risk management—strategies drawn from lessons we learned during this crisis to prevent another emergency like it from happening again. As Julien Jacob explained, “We always plan with a focus on disaster risk reduction, so that future natural disasters do not re-shatter the advances we’ve made.”
To learn more about how we’re helping vulnerable communities across the Philippines, you can read our one-month report below. Your generosity has already helped us reach hundreds of thousands of people in need, and your ongoing support can help us restore self-sufficiency, health and safety to millions more.