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
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
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."