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Philippines in recovery after Typhoon Haiyan

14 November 2014


One year on: survivors of Typhoon Haiyan release floating lanterns in Tacloban, as part of commemorations for the first anniversary of the storm

One year on: survivors of Typhoon Haiyan release floating lanterns in Tacloban, as part of commemorations for the first anniversary of the storm

TWELVE months ago, Filipinos were coming to terms with the aftermath of the strongest storm ever to make landfall, Typhoon Haiyan. Now, aid agencies are reporting the progress that has been made since, and how much work still needs to be done to rebuild the homes and lives that were shattered by the deadly storm.

About 6000 people in the Philippines were killed by Typhoon Haiyan, and four million were forced from their homes. One Christian charity, World Vision, said that it had provided 2500 homes for the most vulnerable of the survivors - single parents, the disabled, the elderly, and child-led households. It has also given 21,000 people skills-training and toolkits to start new businesses, as well as running work programmes that have put cash in the pockets of 85,000 people.

World Vision's response director, Andrew Rosauer, said: "We want to enable survivors to restore their dignity by continuing to be involved in their own recovery."

Besides those who lost their lives when the storm hit on 8 November, many thousands more lost their homes, boats, and livelihoods.

Christian Aid said that its Typhoon Haiyan appeal raised £2.8 million from the British public, allowing the charity to provide community kitchens, help to grow vegetables, and schooling, as well as counselling support.

The head of Christian Aid's humanitarian division, Nick Guttmann, who recently revisited the Philippines, said: "People are doing whatever they can to bring back normality, but many don't have jobs, and the coconut harvest is a mere ten per cent of what it was before the typhoon. Millions still live in makeshift shelters."

There have also been many success stories. Operation Mobilisation (OM) Philippines said that one church it supports, which became a temporary medical shelter after Haiyan, is now providing help for 277 families, and its congregation has grown threefold. The OM team in the Philippines has finished its first housing project on Cebu island, and hopes to build 200 new homes and repair 500 more in the coming months.

Christian Aid also recently supported a 40-day protest march by the Filipino UN climate negotiator Yeb Sano, from the capital Manila to the site of a mass grave in Tacloban, the worst-hit town, to demand action against climate change. The agency's Haiyan emergency response manager, Ted Bonpin, said: "The Philippines is one of the countries most at risk from the effects of climate change, as illustrated by Haiyan, and addressing the issue is really important for our children and the generations to come."

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