In November 2014, we passed the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. During that time, we reflected on the aid provided and we want to share just a few accomplishments because of you:
To improve water and sanitation services for people living on remote islands Mercy Corps coordinated with other organizations to build toilets and hand-washing facilities in schools, repairing community wells and providing water filters to serve 5,000 people.
As distributions of food and emergency kits slowed down in January 2014, Mercy Corps transitioned to recovery efforts - helping people rebuild with cash assistance, financial training, and access to needs-based finacial services, including loans, insurance, and savings products.
To provide the assistance Mercy Corps worked withBanKO, a local bank that has a purely mobile, branchless banking model that is unique in the Philippines. Together, we reached more than 25,000 households on northern Cebu and Leyte islands with cash transfers - many of whom are living on less than $2 a day. The cash transfers helped families to rebuild their homes and communities.
Based on an estimated average household size of six, programming benefitted approximately 155,000 people on Cebu and Leyte Islands. By February 2015, nearly all the program's beneficiaries (97%) had received cash transfers that totaled $2.3 million.
Lives affected by the typhoon have been improved because of you. Thank you. Though we will continue our long term efforts in the region, we will no longer be doing a project page through GlobalGiving. If you would like to still donate to the mission of Mercy Corps through GlobalGiving, we encourage you to change lives through our Help Turn Crisis Into Opportunity project. You can also continue to follow our progress in the the Philippines and see our other programs in the country as well. We are truly thankful for your generous contributions and for continuing to care 16 months after the typhoon. You have helped the people of the Philippines get back on their feet quicker! With gratitude,
Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon are struggling to stay warm since a frigid winter storm hit the Middle East last week. Some areas have been blanketed with snow, while others have sustained pounding rains and strong winds.
Most refugees are living in spaces that are not designed to withstand any kind of inclement weather — fragile tents, uninsulated shelters, or buildings with no heat.
To make sure that refugee families are safe and warm, we work in the region to repair drafty shelters and give refugees the supplies they need to make it through another winter away from home.
More than 95,000 refugees are currently living in Zaatari and Azraq camps in Jordan, and the conditions over the past week have been grim.
To help them get through this unusually-brutal winter weather, we've been providing heaters and distributing coats, shoes and warm boots to children in Zaatari.
Throughout the storm, Mercy Corps staff and volunteers have been at the camps, working to help refugees as they face freezing days and cold, bitter nights. Our team in Lebanon, where many Syrian refugees live in informal tent settlements, is also helping people get through this storm safely.
“We've been hit with quite a bit of now over the past few days. The camp is very wet, cold and muddy,” said Mercy Corps’ country director Rob Maroni after visiting Zaatari. “Everyone has their clothing and blankets hanging out to dry, even though there's no way anything will dry under these overcast, cold conditions.”
The freezing temperatures are unusual for the area — it’s the first time Zaatari has received any snow since its opening nearly three years ago. Refugees have been forced to push inches of snow off their tents and huddle inside for warmth.
“One of our volunteers explained how he helped one family get a tent back up after it collapsed under the weight of snow at 10 pm with a person inside,” Maroni told us.
Mercy Corps has more than a dozen child-friendly spaces throughout the camps, designed to bring a sense of normalcy to refugees who are far from home. On most days, hundreds of children and adolescents come to play, take dance or martial arts classes, exercise at the gym, or learn computer skills.
We’ve kept these spaces open during the storm, offering a place for children and their families to come play or take shelter. Our staff and volunteers have been working to make sure that all the spaces are equipped with gas heaters and generators.
“Our facilities are open for everybody during the storm. Not just the kids,” said senior camp coordinator at Zaatari, Osama Telfah. If the weather gets worse, the Mercy Corps team is prepared to shelter refugees in these facilities, which are spread throughout the large camp.
Below are photos of the storm from the Mercy Corps team in Jordan. The photos, from both Zaatari and Azraq camps, show the hazardous conditions that refugees have faced over the past week.
Learn more about how we're helping Syrian refugees in Jordan get through the winter
How you can help
Ten years ago today, the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami was triggered by a massive 9.0 magnitude underwater earthquake. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.
From Indonesia to parts of East Africa, a series of catastrophic tsunamis that tore across the Indian Ocean killed over 270,000 people and millions were left terrified and homeless. The destruction was unlike anything people had ever seen.
Today, we pause to remember those who lost their lives ten years ago. And we're reflecting on the incredible outpouring of generosity from people all over the world to help survivors in their greatest time of need. Because of compassionate supporters like you, people in some of the hardest-hit areas were able to survive those first days and communities built back stronger in the years that followed. See photos from our emergency response below.
The coastal village of Meulaboh in Indonesia was destroyed by the tsunami. Mercy Corps was one of the first organizations to respond there. Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps
Within hours, we mobilized our largest emergency response to date, sending dozens of staff to tsunami-devastated areas with lifesaving relief and supplies. Mercy Corps was one of the first humanitarian organizations to arrive in remote areas of India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia’s Aceh province, a war-torn coastal region near the epicenter of the deadly earthquake.
We rushed emergency food rations, temporary shelter supplies and blankets to help more than half a million people survive immediately after the disaster.
A group of men in Banda Aceh, Indonesia receive tools to help in the rebuilding efforts. Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps
Building supplies helped people construct temporary shelters for their families. We also quickly began building and repairing latrines, bringing in water trucks and reconstructing wells, and repairing essential health clinics to ensure that survivors stayed healthy in even desperate conditions.
Fisherman try to push a washed-up boat back into the water after the storm. Photo: Cate Gillon for Mercy Corps
In Indonesia, where the storm hit hardest, we helped more than 423,000 people in 64 villages earn daily wages to repair public facilities. Local workers cleared and constructed hundreds of miles of roads and cleared debris from more than 32,000 acres of public land. This work helped revive the local economy and gave individuals a way to earn income to restore their own livelihoods.
A Mercy Corps staff member from Indonesia observes one of the first rice harvests after the tsunami. Photo: Shirine Bakhat-Pont/Mercy Corps
We also distributed seeds, tools and fertilizer to help farmers earn income after their fields were washed away. More than 1,000 farmers were able to replant and harvest their rice fields.
Mothers hold onto their children at a refugee camp in Sri Lanka. Photo: Dwayne Newton for Mercy Corps
Our teams in India, Sri Lanka and Somalia responded to urgent relief and recovery needs in similar ways: providing emergency relief supplies, hiring locals to rebuild roads and public spaces, and helping people restart their farms and small businesses.
With an eye on the future across the tsunami-struck region, we also paid workers to repair ruined classrooms and provided supplies, uniforms and tuition to help 30,000 children return to school as quickly as possible.
Over the course of our tsunami response, Mercy Corps provided assistance to more than 1 million survivors of the disaster. More than 250 of our field team members and hundreds of local partner staff in the region contributed to this massive effort.
It's been a decade since the Indian Ocean tsunami, but the work that supporters like you made possible has not been forgotten.
“Much of the disaster response work Mercy Corps is now doing has been informed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. We learned so many lessons at the time – lessons which are now incorporated into our program design to help ensure that a disaster of that magnitude does not claim that many lives again,” said Indonesia Country Director Paul Jeffrey.
Mercy Corps in Indonesia today
Our work in Indonesia continues today, to make sure communities are more prepared for future disasters and have the resources they need to recover more quickly. We've worked with the government and local businesses to create earthquake and tsunami education programs, early warning systems and tsunami evacuation maps, as well as establishing shelters that are adapted to better withstand a disaster.
Outside of emergencies, we're focused on improving health in areas where disease and malnutrition are a chronic threat, helping communities increase access to water and sanitation, and working with new mothers to ensure proper infant care. We are also partnering with local people to create new economic opportunities and more inclusive businesses and social enterprises that bring greater prosperity and security to people throughout this region for years to come.
You can continue to make a difference by: