One year after the most powerful storm to ever make landfall slammed into the Philippines, the unprecedented scale of the international response has led to a recovery that is both remarkable and a testament to the resilience of the people of the Philippines.
But while much progress has been made, significant needs remain, particularly for children, education, shelter and preparedness for future disasters, according to NGO Plan International Australia.
“We’ve come a long way in a short time,” said Carin Van der Hor, Philippines Country Director for Plan International. “We were at the forefront of the response and managed to get relief and essential supplies delivered incredibly quickly.
“We’ve worked with communities to rebuild their homes, their schools and their health facilities and, most importantly, we have involved children from the very beginning and put them at the centre of our work,” she adds.
Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda), a Category 5 Typhoon, hit the Eastern and Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. Over 6,200 people were killed, thousands are still missing, and over 14 million people affected, including five million children.
Plan has been a leader in the response to Haiyan. As the typhoon approached, Plan pre-positioned core humanitarian resources in many of the affected areas, was onsite immediately after the impact and has been there ever since, helping to ensure child protection, counselling and support, access to education and health services, and rebuilding homes, schools, health clinics, and water and sanitation facilities.
An example of Plan’s innovative recovery and development initiatives is the “Building Back Better” project in Tacloban. Beyond just rebuilding, Plan is working shoulder-to-shoulder with the community to foster ownership of Haiyan-affected residents in rehabilitating their homes and communities.
Plan is training community members in disaster-resilient construction techniques and working with neighbourhoods to build the homes, schools, and health facilities that they want to live in, their children to grow up in, and that can withstand future storms.
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries on earth. An average of 20 typhoons slam into the country every year, and the frequency and ferocity of these storms is increasing as a result of climate change.
Plan’s recovery work takes a holistic approach, including working directly with communities, and particularly children, advocating for legislation that protects children in emergencies, and fostering community-based emergency preparedness and response practices.
“Natural disasters are the new normal, and we all need to adapt to this reality,” said Van der Hor. “But in rebuilding after the devastation of Haiyan, we have had the opportunity to build back better, and it isn’t just the buildings that are stronger as result, it is the communities and the people’s spirit, too.”
In order to ensure that this recovery work continues and is able to reach more communities and children, Plan International is appealing for an additional $US9.5 million to complete the recovery work in areas severely affected by Haiyan.
Photos and media materials: http://bit.ly/hayainoneyear Please credit ‘Plan International Australia’
Australians wishing to support the people of the Philippines can donate to Plan International Australia’s Typhoon Haiyan Disaster Appeal online at plan.org.au or by ringing 13 75 26.
Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945