Emergency Needs for Typhoon Haiyan Survivors

by Relief International

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, many families were left without clean water or functioning sanitation. In the months since, Relief International’s team has been hard at work to restore access to water and rebuild sanitation infrastructure on the island of Leyte, one of the areas most devastated by the storm. To date, our team has provided 5,000 water kits (consisting of water containers and purification tablets) to families, reaching more than 25,000 people, and built more than 1,600 latrines in 33 barangays (small villages/districts). We’re also conducting community hygiene promotion to ensure effective use of facilities and instill healthy habits. We emphasize the importance of community involvement and ownership of projects to ensure communities have the capacity built up to continue maintenance of their new water and sanitation facilities in the future.

One of the communities RI worked with was Balud, a remote and difficult to reach barangay that was severely affected by Haiyan. In the midst of the storm, many families lost their homes and livelihoods, and being so remote, Balud was struggling to rebuild. For the people of Balud, the only source of drinking water was a spring that flowed though a water reservoir severely damaged by the storm. The only two ways they could reach the spring, separated from them by a channel, were difficult and treacherous. When the tide was low, they could cross over the creek using a nearly-collapsed bridge. Yet when the tide turned and the water rose high over the bridge, the villagers had no choice but to guide their boats to the other side. The reservoir had leaking tubes and the water was likely contaminated, but the community had no choice. With the help of the barangay officials, RI acted fast to help improve Balud’s water system. A connection was established from the water reservoir to the center of the barangay, making it accessible to everyone. RI and the community organized a local barangay water and sanitation team to help maintain the system in the future.

Our team is also working to establish long-term solutions to rebuild livelihoods and establish productive communities. Some of the areas most devastated by Haiyan include the top-producing coconut regions of Samar and Leyte. RI is currently working on long-term solutions to prevent future devastation to the coconut industry and support small farmers in building self-reliance in the process. Through pilot projects, we’re working with local communities to implement an intercropping scheme. Coconut trees take several years to mature so intercropping will allow farmers to have a source of income from several other crops as they wait for the trees reach maturity. Our team is also working to implement an intercropping planting scheme that will allow for strengthening the coconut trees’ resistance to high winds and future disasters such as Haiyan.

These are some of many success stories as the people of the Philippines rebuild. Together we are helping families in the Philippines recover disaster and “build back better.” We thank you for your continued support.


Residents of Balud using their new water tap
Residents of Balud using their new water tap
A community hygiene awareness session
A community hygiene awareness session


In the wake of Haiyan, RI’s Rapid Emergency Deployment (RED) Team immediately deployed to the hardest hit areas to provide urgent primary medical care. The team provided medical treatment to over 3,700 patients and psychological support to more than 500 patients in the aftermath of the storm. A portion of our team was stationed at the Carigara District Hospital near Tacloban where they helped staff the hospital until it returned to functionality.

Exciting developments are underway as the Carigara District Hospital has begun operating at nearly full capacity for the first time since the Haiyan. Recently, the hospital performed its first operation in the newly-restored operating room—a birth! The hospital currently serves approximately 215,000 people in six towns.

Success stories like this are becoming more common as the people of Philippines rebuild, but a long road of recovery remains for millions of families. The widespread destruction of critical infrastructure following Haiyan resulted in millions of displaced people without access to essential services such as electricity, healthcare, sanitation facilities, and clean water. To meet these needs, RI scaled up its efforts and is currently implementing a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program specifically focusing on inland villages on the island of Leyte. Leyte, among the most devastated areas with nearly 1.6 million residents, lacks functioning toilets in many areas and access to potable water is limited. RI’s team is currently helping provide access to safe drinking water, supplying hygiene and sanitation facilities, and conducting hygiene awareness education. The project has a special focus on improving drinking water, latrines/sanitation, and hygiene awareness in schools.

Haiyan had a severe effect upon agriculture, particularly for the country’s coconut production. In fact, some areas experienced an 84 percent loss in agriculture. To prevent future devastation, RI plans to launch projects that work with local communities to replant coconut, a main livelihood source for many Filipinos, using an intercropping scheme to strengthen the coconut trees’ resistance to high winds.

Your continued support allows our team to reach more families and has helped us scale up long-term recovery efforts. Our team would like to extend a big thank you those who have already joined us in support. Together, we can continue to help families recover and rebuild from disaster.


Relief International's Rapid Emergency Deployment (RED) Team has been stationed in the Tacloban area staffing a city hospital and running two mobile clinics. To date, we have provided medical treatment to more than 3,700 patients. Additionally, our team has addressed the psychological well-being of over 500 people to help them heal as they rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Haiyan. Relief International is now preparing activities to focus on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), shelter, and livelihood recovery.

Millions have been affected by this disaster and a long road of recovery still looms ahead for many families. Your continued support allows our team to reach more survivors. 

Our team would like to extend a big thank you those who have already joined us in support! Together, we can continue to help families recover and rebuild from disaster.

Photo Credits: Roger Spinti


A child who received treatment for dehydration
A child who received treatment for dehydration


RED Team medical volunteers
RED Team medical volunteers

As you read this, Relief International’s Rapid Emergency Deployment (RED) Team is on the ground in the Philippines providing urgent medical care to families in some of the hardest hit areas such as Tacloban. Access to healthcare is a top priority as key infrastructure, such as hospitals, has been destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan.

Currently, RI has 22 medical personnel from the U.S. working with local staff to address the primary medical needs of survivors. In addition to providing critical health support, our team is also working with communities and preparing activities to address urgent water, sanitation, shelter, and livelihood recovery needs.

Relief International’s efforts in the Philippines would not be possible without the generous contributions and assistance from our supporters, friends, and partners.

RI staff, RED Team volunteers, and families in the Philippines thank you!

More than one million people are homeless
More than one million people are homeless
Aerial view of destruction
Aerial view of destruction



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Organization Information

Relief International

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.ri.org
Relief International
Project Leader:
Ben Ro
Los Angeles, CA United States

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