The Philippines, One Year After Typhoon Haiyan
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan—one of the most powerful typhoons recorded in history—swept across central Philippines, severely impacting 14 million people. As the people of the Philippines and the international community remember the lives lost and recognize the resilience of survivors, Action Against Hunger looks back on the year.
The first months: responding to the emergency
Eduardo de Francisco, Action Against Hunger’s Emergency Response Coordinator, recalled, “The first months after the typhoon, the survivors faced enormous challenges. One year later, they are on the road to recovery thanks to a combination of impressive personal effort, an amazing spirit of resilience in the face of disaster, and the collaboration of the local and national government and the international community. The challenge now is to continue the 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.”
Action Against Hunger was one of the first organizations to deploy emergency teams and supplies. During the first weeks, we sent 12 aircraft with 250 tons of critical emergency supplies to more than half a million people. After the initial emergency phase, we worked closely with partners and the local government to support the rebuilding and reconstruction--treating and preventing malnutrition, recovering livelihoods, providing access to safe water and sanitation, providing psychosocial support, and assisting with Disaster Risk Management.
Jesús Baena, Action Against Hunger’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Coordinator, described setting up the first water treatment plant a few days after the disaster, "We did it in an old water treatment plant, taking advantage of some of its components. We got a lot of help from community members who worked hard to clear the area, enabling our trucks to access the site. The moment when we got water out of it was very moving.”
Today: working towards a full recovery
The situation has improved a lot for affected communities in terms of their most urgent needs, but there is still a lot of work to be done to rebuild self-sufficiency, productivity, and infrastructure in affected areas.
Julien Jacob, Action Against Hunger’s Head of Food Security and Livelihoods, said of the local economy, "While rice farmers have enjoyed a pretty solid recovery thanks to international aid seed distribution programs, the recovery of coconut trees—the real engine of the local economy in the area—will take much longer. Fishermen also lost their boats and tools. We're working on these issues, and also focusing on risk prevention for the future. For example, we're promoting the cultivation of shorter coconut trees that will be less exposed to the wind and have shorter growing cycles. We are also training fishermen on techniques to protect their boats when a typhoon alert occurs."
Full recovery could take up to a decade. One million Filipinos still live in temporary shelters and need to have their homes rebuilt. The road ahead is long, but with your continued support we will fulfill our commitment to the people of the Philippines in the months and years ahead.