Typhoon Haiyan’s Devastating Violence Leaves Millions in Need across the Philippines

With over four million affected, Typhoon Haiyan has left thousands dead and tens of thousands cut off.
Typhoon Haiyan, destruction in the Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan devastates the Philippines. Photo: ACF-Philippines, J. Maitem

Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) crossed the Philippines with devastating violence two days ago, leaving behind untold destruction and an initial estimate of 1,200 deaths that early evidence suggests may exceed 10,000. An estimated 4.3 million survivors have lost everything and are in need of immediate assistance, with some regions completely cut off from humanitarian assistance. 

Initial surveys suggest a dramatic need for emergency supplies of drinking water, food, and preventative sanitation measures, given the extensive destruction to local water networks and food sources. To date, an official state of emergency has been declared for 38 cities, 215 municipalities, 37 provinces and 9 regions.

Emergency response: Teams already on the ground

With extensive experience working across the Philippines since 2000, Action Against Hunger’s experts were able to mount an immediate emergency response, with teams carrying out initial surveys to assess needs while preparing distributions of drinking water and survival kits containing buckets, soap, and chlorine tablets.

In anticipation of such disasters, ACF maintains stocks of emergency water and sanitation equipment to help stave off outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Our teams have begun setting up mobile water treatment plants, massive “bladders” for distributing clean water, and emergency pumps and filtration systems to ensure access to water in the coming weeks. Additional staff and emergency materiel are also en route as reinforcements.

While the Philippines is prone to such natural disasters year in and year out, Haiyan may have been one of the strongest typhoons witnessed this year, and may even be one of the most violent to arrive in decades.

“There is massive destruction… The last time I saw something of this magnitude, it was the [2004] tsunami in the Indian Ocean.”

– Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, UN Disaster Management Team

Our teams are already hard at work, assessing a situation that is very much in flux, with many areas still inaccessible and cut off from all means of communication. Please consider supporting our efforts as we race to help those affected in the coming hours and days ahead.


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About James Phelan

James is Action Against Hunger's Deputy Director for External Relations, keeping an eye on global events and program developments.