Saving Lives and Livelihoods: the Race for Recovery After Typhoon Haiyan

Our teams provide immediate aid and long-term solutions for recovery after the devastating storm.
The devastated farmland and coastline near Tacloban. Photo: ACF-Philippines, J. Maitem
The devastated farmland and coastline near Tacloban. Photo: ACF-Philippines, J. Maitem

In the catastrophic wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Action Against Hunger’s first priority has been saving lives. But saving livelihoods—the ways that people earn money and access food—is equally important for recovery. So while our emergency response teams aim to provide immediate lifesaving assistance to some 650,000 typhoon survivors, we’re also developing strategies to help restore economic self-sufficiency to the vulnerable communities in Tacloban and Capiz. 

Millions of livelihoods lost

Some thirteen million people have had their livelihoods destroyed by the typhoon. Severe flooding has covered hundreds of acres of farmland in salt water, ruining soil and adversely affecting crop yields. Fishermen have lost their boats and fishing gear. Thousands of families now not only lack basic necessities like food, water, and shelter, but also the ability to make money so they can begin to rebuild their lives.

While emergency distributions take care of the most urgent needs for clean water, safe sanitation, and supplementary food, they are not sustainable in the long term. Amador Gomez, Technical Director for Action Against Hunger’s Spanish headquarters, says that restoring livelihoods is just as critical to the Philippines’ recovery as providing emergency supplies.

“We are engaged in a race not only to save lives, but also to restore livelihoods.”

– Amador Gomez, Technical Director, Action Against Hunger, Spain

Helping farmers harvest again

For farmers in the Philippines, the storm came at the worst possible time: rice-planting season. In the hardest-hit areas—Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, and Capiz—farmers are at a critical point in their agricultural season, between harvesting their first rice crop and planting their second. Many farmers have also lost other staple crops, including entire coconut and banana groves—crops that take up to seven years to bear fruit—as well as cassava, mango, and corn crops. We’re now working to help these farmers get the seeds, tools, and food they need for this season and for future harvests.

“We are coordinating with the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] to ensure that farmers have seeds available for planting in December, while also providing food rations so these farmers don’t go hungry, which is key to ensuring they keep a portion of their seeds for future planting.”

– Amador Gomez, Technical Director, Action Against Hunger, Spain

In the coming months, our teams will help farming and fishing communities and other struggling communities regain their self-sufficiency across the Philippines. We’ll also help them strengthen their livelihoods, so they can be more resilient in the face of future disasters. With your ongoing support, we can continue to help the millions of affected people rebuild their lives.


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