When Typhoon Haiyan made landfall last November, Casimira Amoren Asidto, 33, was holding a wake for her husband, who had passed away from acute appendicitis a few days earlier.
Outside her house, gusts of wind were tearing through the village, snapping trees in half and whipping debris into the air. By 9 a.m., the walls of her house had begun to collapse. After the storm, Casimira and her children moved in with her parents and in the early days relied on emergency water and food distributed by aid organizations.
Now a single mother with four children under the age of eleven, Casimira knew that supporting her family would be a struggle. The sporadic income she earned from selling fish at the local market was insufficient for rebuilding her home and sending her children to school, much less for expanding her business.
But thanks to your compassion and support, Casimira and others like her now have hope for the future. Your donations have provided thousands of Filipinos with the opportunity to rebuild their lives better, stronger and more resilient than ever.
In January, Casimira became one of the first people to register for Mercy Corps’ mobile-money transfer program, which uses mobile technology to provide recovery funds to families hit hardest by the storm.
Many people across the Philippines’ 7,000 islands live on less than $2 USD per day, and 80 percent of them lack access to brick-and-mortar banking services. In such precarious financial circumstances, finding the money to rebuild after a massive disaster like Haiyan can be a daunting task.
That’s why Mercy Corps partnered with BanKO, the Philippines’ first mobile-based bank, to connect 25,000 families like Casimira’s with cash transfers through mobile savings accounts.
The transfers provide urgent funds to families working to rebuild their homes and livelihoods, and the spending boosts the economy, which helps the entire region recover more quickly.
Casimira decided to use the first of her three cash transfers to make a down payment on a plot of land near her mother’s house, on which she will eventually build a new home.
And when she receives the remaining two cash transfers, she wants to leave them in her savings account to earn interest, pay her children’s school fees and save in case of an emergency.
Because of your support, Mercy Corps has been able to bring hope to those hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Casimira is optimistic and sincerely grateful for the support her family has received.
“Thank you that you have come into my life. You have helped me so much, helped me move on,” she told us. “Thank you for teaching me how to plan for the future, how to plan for my children’s future and for helping me put them through school. My life now has direction.”
In the six months since the devastating storm tore through the Philippines, your generosity has helped more than 140,000 people survive the chaos of disaster and begin putting their lives back together.
Thanks to you, families in the hardest-hit areas received:
• Food, clean water and hygiene supplies immediately after the storm
• Safe spaces for their children to recover from trauma
• Tools, materials and financial assistance to help survivors rebuild homes and businesses
Today, because of your support, children are sleeping under new roofs. Fishermen are repairing their boats. Parents are reopening their family businesses.
We know recovery from a disaster of this scale takes time. In the aftermath of a crisis there is an opportunity to build back better. That’s why, with your support, we’re working to improve access to clean water and mobile banking in underserved Filipino communities. We’re focused on ensuring thousands of vulnerable families have what they need to rebuild now and meet their needs for years to come. See photos
The courage and determination of the Filipino people to move forward is extraordinary. And your kindness in their moment of greatest need is a source of great hope for the future. As Anna says, our work would not be possible without you.
Daghang salamat. Thank you.
I want to share with you a miraculous story of survival.
Just hours before Typhoon Haiyan crashed into tiny Kinatarcan Island in the Philippines, 24-year-old Hazel was giving birth at the local health center. When the storm descended she knew they were in danger. She bravely forced herself from her hospital bed and ran with her newborn in her arms.
She found shelter in a house, but winds ripped the roof off as she huddled in a corner, clutching her baby. At times, she was certain they wouldn’t survive. After the storm, her husband and their 3-year-old daughter were overcome with relief when they found Hazel and the baby alive.
But the health center, their neighbors' homes, and their own home were devastated beyond recognition. Hazel remembers "when we saw it, we cried and cried.” Before the storm, her husband was a fisherman, like most people on the island. Now, even that little income is gone — because the boats were destroyed. With nowhere to go and no income, so many families, including Hazel's, were forced to live among the rubble.
But your compassionate support is lifting the spirits and improving the lives of thousands of survivors.
When Mercy Corps teams responded with lifesaving food packages and basic relief supplies, it was the first hopeful moment that Hazel had experienced in a long time. She said “my baby is very precious and this helps my baby” — nicknamed Baby Yolee after the storm (known locally as "Yolanda").
Your generosity is helping us scale up long-term recovery efforts. You're giving families clean water and food. You're helping families build safer shelters and return to work. And you're giving kids a place to play safely and heal.
Over a month after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines, displaced families are understandably eager to return home and begin rebuilding. There has been a shortage of building materials in the country, but as more shipments make their way to battered islands, survivors are setting out to repair damage or set up temporary shelters.
Even in more remote areas that receive little assistance, resourceful residents are salvaging what debris and timber they can.
It's communities like this, farther from main distribution channels, that we targeted to receive new recovery kits with construction supplies like hammers, shovels, nails and tarps.
"I discussed with the village leader and the community what they needed most," Emergency Program Manager Dewi Hanifah explained of the first visit to Julita. "They wanted supplies that they could use for the longer term. Because most people work as farmers, they can also use the tools in these kits for their work and lives in the future."
Julita is an inland municipality deep in the eastern Philippines. Its remote location — accessed by a long drive over muddy, storm-ravaged roads — has made it difficult for the government to provide the area with relief.
Additionally, we distributed hygiene and cooking supplies including essential items like soap and detergent, and cooking and eating utensils. Over 400 families in Julita also received emergency rice distributions — a total of five tons — as the need for food remains an urgent priority for those displaced by the storm.
In all, we reached 1,800 families in 14 villages in Leyte province that were most affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The supplies help meet their day-to-day needs and give them the opportunity to focus on long-term rebuilding.
"It was wonderful to see the families' faces when they received the reconstruction kits. They haven't received any other help like this, and they kept saying how much they needed it," Dewi said.
Because of you, Mercy Corps is able to reach thankful families in remote locations who have yet to receive critical, if any, aid. And it is not too late to make more of an impact in 2013. You will reach more survivors of Typhoon Haiyan with lifesaving food, critical supplies and support that helps them recover and begin rebuilding.
On behalf of the resilient families in the Philippines who are now begining to move forward - thank you.
Since the typhoon struck, life has been a daily struggle for millions of people who have lost so much — loved ones, homes, livelihoods. And their challenges will continue for a long time to come.
Now, families must begin the long and difficult process of rebuilding, and they need your help. Will you stand with them by making a monthly pledge to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan today?
You will provide the consistent support that survivors of Typhoon Haiyan need to move beyond crises and begin rebuilding their lives. And, right now is the ideal time because now until December 31st GlobalGiving is offering a 100% match of your first monthly contribution.
Your commitment allows us to continue to help families in Palo, in Leyte province, where our team most recently traveled to deliver food, cooking supplies and hygiene kits to families struggling to recover after Typhoon Haiyan. Palo took a direct hit from the devastating storm (known locally as Yolanda) and nearly all of its 62,000 residents have been affected. Over 15,000 homes in Palo were destroyed, forcing families to find refuge in makeshift tents or crowded evacuation centers — some of which have now closed due to the damage they sustained.
Distributing Food Kits
Over 2,000 people are living in evacuation centers where food, water and supplies are scarce — not to mention the thousands more living outside. We distributed 4,000 food kits to feed 20,000 area residents. Each food kit contains rice, canned goods and instant noodles — enough to feed a family of five for up to five days.
While urgent needs must be met, children also need support to deal with their memories of the terrifying storm and sadness over what they’ve lost. The UN estimates that six million children have been affected by the disaster across the country.
We’ve opened two child-friendly spaces in Palo, where kids can regain a sense of normalcy with activities and informal education until they can return to school. Staff and local volunteers organize games, sports and counseling that help children cope with the trauma they’ve experienced. Sessions are held six days a week. Over 130 children between 3 and 14 years old visited the opening day.
One young survivor, 11-year-old Danica says, “I am glad to come here and play games. I lost all my toys in the typhoon and we don’t have anywhere we can play because the streets and houses are all gone.” Her family’s house was demolished in the storm.
Milton Pedrosa who we met along with his five-year-old daughter Aryan Mae says, “I am happy that there is somewhere my daughter can go that is safe. I am a pedicab driver so I can’t be home all the time, and my wife has to go stand in line for food distributions. For the children it is hard to be in the evacuation center all day without activities.”
A Time to Play = A Time to Heal
Your continuous support assures that young survivors like Danica and Aryan have a safe place to go while their parents start to rebuild. For many children affected by the storm, a time play is also a time for them to heal. Thank you for giving these young survivors a safe space to just be kids.
Mercy Corps Founder
Starting today until December 31st at 11:59pm EST you can double the support being sent to families in the Philippines. Simply click on the monthly recurring tab on the top right side of the project page when you make your donation. You will assure that the immediate as well as the long term needs of Typhoon Haiyan survivors are met and that they can begin rebuilding their lives.
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