Help Families Recover from Typhoon Haiyan

by International Disaster Volunteers (IDV) Vetted since 2009 Project of the Month Site Visit Verified
Nat, Rey and kids from San Agustin school
Nat, Rey and kids from San Agustin school

Last week we marked the third anniversary of typhoon Haiyan, and we’ve been reflecting on all we’ve achieved thanks to you.

The typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, devastated the Philippines, affecting 14 million people in 46 provinces. Over 6,000 people were killed, and more than one million homes were damaged beyond repair.

Filipino families were left reeling, and in need of major assistance. And, thanks to your amazing support, we’ve been on the ground and helping them to recover for the last three years.

Our team arrived in the city of Tacloban seventeen days after the typhoon, and immediately began providing vital relief. They also gave important support to local organisations working to help their own communities.

We arrived with over 80Kg of medical supplies that were quickly distributed to where they were most needed. In the process we also facilitated ‘swaps’ of medical supplies between clinics, to fill gaps in one location with surplus from another. We also organised a medical mission that gave 400 survivors their first access to a doctor after the typhoon.

As the days passed we also got to know several amazing local organisations, who we realised were well placed to help their own communities given a little support.

So, we built a new roof at the office of a local NGO called Volunteer for the Visayans. This helped them to relaunch their feeding programme for vulnerable children. We also repaired and re-opened the Aram Learning Studio, one of city’s few schools for children with developmental challenges, like autism.

We also worked with a local chef and his Mobile Soup Kitchen for Kids (MSKK) to provide over 6,000 meals, often as school lunches to encourage children to return to class. Toward the same end our volunteers also cleared debris at several schools, and this helped almost 3,500 kids return to school safely.

As the spring of 2014 arrived, we turned our attention towards the longer-term. We worked with another local NGO to help build new homes in the community of Pago, and we also began to develop our own long-term rebuilding plans.

Haiyan damaged or destroyed over 2,500 schools, and without an education millions of kids risked being left trapped in poverty as a result of the disaster. So, we decided to make supporting education our main priority.

In April 2014 our work started at the San Augustin school where we repaired seven classrooms damaged by the typhoon. We also built the school a new kitchen, and a brand new 9m x 7m classroom for its kindergarten class, who were being forced to learn in a mold-ridden tent.

We next moved onto Lun Tad school where our international and local volunteers repaired and repainted another fourteen classrooms. We also worked on Planza island, and in the communities of Guintigian, Buri, Anibongon, Pitogo and recently also Matin-ao, to repair and rebuild almost thirty classrooms and daycares in total.

This work, none of which would have been possible without your incredible generosity, has supported the education of over 5,100 children since Haiyan, and we can’t thank you enough.

But while we placed a big focus on education, you also enabled us provide help in other important areas.

Although Haiyan was particularly destructive the Philippines is hit by many typhoons every year. During these storms families often have to evacuate from their homes and seek shelter in evacuation centres.

Schools often act as evacuation centers so, with your help, we also donated emergency generators to four of the schools mentioned above. We also provided first aid training so that families can help their loved ones if they’re injured in a future storm.

In fact, because typhoons are so common in the Philippines, several more have struck the country since Haiyan itself. For example, typhoon Ruby hit previously affected areas at the end of 2014, and we again worked with MSKK to provide hot meals and other immediate relief to hundreds of families.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve also continued to partner with other amazing local NGOs, including CANVAS and Balangiga Without Borders to distribute thousands of school books.

The list goes on and on, but in total our work has supported 11,858 people over the last three years, and this was only possible because of your support!

Together, we’ve achieved an incredible amount since November 2013, and although work remains to be done, Tacloban and the surrounding areas have been transformed since we first arrived. So, we’ve now decided that we’ll be retiring this, our general Haiyan recovery project on GlobalGiving.

Once again, and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for all you’ve done to help families recover from typhoon Haiyan.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email I would be delighted to hear from you.

Providing hot meals after the typhoon
Providing hot meals after the typhoon
Ruth and teachers from Lun Tad school
Ruth and teachers from Lun Tad school
Distributing books in partnership with CANVAS
Distributing books in partnership with CANVAS
We've been repairing a daycare in rural Leyte

Thanks to your fantastic support we’re continuing our vital work helping families recover from typhoon Haiyan.

In our previous report we described how our local Project Manager Siggy had been working with some of our amazing local partners in Tacloban. But while we love these partnerships, we’ve also been getting a bit restless to undertake more construction projects in some of the still under-served rural areas outside of the city.

Siggy explained the needs to us as follows:

In the months of March to April I have been roaming around the region to see the updates of the rehabilitation on the affected community especially into the higher lands.

What I have seen makes me sad.

It has been over two years since typhoon haiyan pounded Visayas, but some areas in Leyte received less help. In general all the urban area were given Aid from different NGO’s and the National Government, but some of the rural barangay still had to suffer.

According to one local official they often apply for aid, but to be able to become beneficiary [it seems like] they have to win the raffle. The most who benefited are the community found in main town, much less in the interior/highlands community.

While scouting these rural areas Siggy came across many communities that still need help to recover from the typhoon. One of these was Matin-ao, which is in the municipality of Burauen, southwest of Tacloban, in the province of Leyte.

Their daycare centre was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan - it completely lost its roof, as well as all of its education materials and furniture. But the community's remote location meant they'd sadly received little help before our arrival.

Most of Matin-ao’s residents are poor, and struggle to survive by farming coconuts and root crops. And the ongoing loss of their daycare meant that local children were being further disadvantaged from a young age, by missing vital opportunities for play and early learning.

Because of all this we were really keen to help.  And thanks to some amazing donations received earlier in the year, we were able to make an immediate start and impact.

We’ve replaced the lost roof, and also all the doors and windows to make the building watertight again. We’ve also repainted the centre, and both repaired and provided new furniture.

The newly refurbished daycare is already looking amazing. But we’d also like to provide toys and learning materials if we can. If you’re interested in supporting this additional work at Matin-ao daycare, then please also see our education specific Haiyan project on GlobalGiving.

In future months we’ll be considering folding this general project into that specific one.  So, now’s also a great time in general to check out our education project.

In all cases, thank you so much for all you’ve done to help families recover from typhoon Haiyan. If we do decide to combine our projects, we’ll send further updates before doing so.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email I would be delighted to hear from you.

For more updates about our work please like us on Facebook or follow IDVExec on Twitter. You can also email Andy is you would like to be added to our direct mailing list.

Also note that IDV is now also fundraising on GlobalGiving to increase its overall capacity to help disaster survivors. This is a great way to get involved with our other work around the world.

The daycare was in a sorry state when we found it
The daycare was in a sorry state when we found it
Up goes the new roof
Up goes the new roof
The daycare centre is transformed
The daycare centre is transformed
Siggy making goals for kids
Siggy making goals for kids' sports activities

Thanks to your fantastic support we’re continuing our work supporting long-term recovery from typhoon Haiyan.

In our last project report we introduced you to Siggy, and described his personal journey from typhoon survivor to becoming IDV’s local Project Manager in Tacloban.   

Over the last few months Siggy’s been continuing to partner with other local organisations, and for this report we asked him to provide an update about this work in his own words.

He first said this about working with Football for Life (a programme of FundLife International).

Football for Life (F4L) aims to restore childhood to children through psychosocial support in the affected areas hit by the Typhoon Haiyan. Through organised sports and play activities F4L helps children by restoring normalcy, [providing] hope, build resilience, and increase morale.

With nine different location of all over Tacloban city, one of their challenge is how to bring the coaches with the equipment to their respected area.

So Marko, founder [& Programme Director] of F4L, he made a communication to me requesting a support in transporting the coaches to the sites. With the approval granted, F4L were able to use one of the vehicles owned by IDV. For this simple help we made more or less 900 kids to smile and give new hope through Sports Therapy.

I also help in fabricating a set of football goal for RTR Plaza as one of their site of training

Siggy then talked about our continued partnership with Volunteer for the Visayans to help typhoon affected schools, this time in the town of Tanuan.

“Tanuan is also another town that was hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Some part of the town was affected by the storm surge, some severely affected by strong wind.

One [affected building] is the elementary school located at Brgy. Talolora in Tanuan, it is located at the interior part of the town with a rough terrain and with distance of 30 km from the city of Tacloban.

Talolora Elementary School caters from grades one to six, and only have three classroom that is functional. So every classroom consist of two grades with one teacher; it is a big challenge for the teachers to teach two different grade at the same time!

For a temporary solution while waiting at the on-going construction of their new school building, Volunteers for Visayas provided the school with thirty new chairs to equip a temporary learning space . To support this project IDV in Tacloban provided transportation to deliver the new chairs for pupils

We delighted that Siggy is able to partner with these great local organisations so that we can support Haiyan recovery together. We’re also delighted that Siggy himself is continuing to grow and beginning to tell his story in his own words.

None of this would be possible with you.  Thank you so much.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email I would be delighted to hear from you.

For more updates about our work please like us on Facebook or follow IDVExec on Twitter. You can also email Andy is you would like to be added to our direct mailing list.


The coaches being transported across Tacloban
The coaches being transported across Tacloban
Games are enjoyed by girls and boys alike
Games are enjoyed by girls and boys alike
Helping to equip a classroom by delivering chairs
Helping to equip a classroom by delivering chairs
Siggy has been with us since the start in Tacloban
Siggy has been with us since the start in Tacloban

It’s now over two years since typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines affecting over 14 million people in total.

It’s been a tough road at times but Haiyan survivors have been on an incredible journey since the typhoon and many stories of human hope and perseverance have shined through the dark times. For this report we wanted to share one of these amazing stories while also officially introducing you to Siggy, IDV’s Project Manager in Tacloban, for the first time.

Despite this late introduction Siggy’s been an essential part of IDV’s Haiyan response since the beginning. When we first met Siggy he was a typhoon survivor looking to provide for his family following the disaster.

We first hired him as a driver as we assessed the typhoon damage along the coast from Tacloban to Guiuan. Siggy’s skills, integrity and easy going nature soon impressed us and it wasn’t long before we asked for his full-time help.

Siggy soon became a critical part of our overall work. He had many natural talents and, as a very quick learner, he soon picked up more skills.  From driving to translating, through helping to build classrooms and taking amazing photos, we couldn’t find a title for Siggy other than “superstar”.

We asked Siggy to tell his story in his own words and he said this:

“Working in IDV created a big change in my life. After the typhoon haiyan hit my town and [I] survive the tragedy, my biggest fear is how to survive for tomorrow. How will I send my kids back to school? All the structure, machineries collapse and our rice product got wasted due to moisture.  With a remaining debt to pay I become hopeless.  

[But] Thanks to IDV who hired me as driver at first, I was able to feed my family. Working every day have given me a chance to learn new skills, none in my life that I have experience in construction work, I laid my first brick  together with the international volunteer. From that I gain my confidence and managed some project in school repair and rehabilitations.”

Over the months Siggy helped us to not only implement projects, but also to plan and manage them as well.  By early 2015, even though our international managers supported him, Siggy was largely managing projects and other local staff himself.

And Siggy continued to excel and grow more. This was great news for us because we’ve always worked hard to transition our projects to local leadership over time. And as the months passed we realised that Siggy had become ready to take the final step and accept full responsibility for our work in Tacloban.

Here’s what he had to say about the time since.

“When IDV told me that international staff will leave. It scared me when I heard the news. It scared me because I have no experience in office stuff like computer works and I’m afraid in making mistakes in the program.

It was 18 years ago when I last used a computer (windows 95!). Since that I have been working in the farm so gadgets were not updated in my life. Doing the accounts and report was quite a new experience, a task learned in practice and exposure. From the two task, making report was a little bit hard because of my English skills is poor - having a difficulty in expressing the right word to explain is a big challenge.

It take me ages in making the report, but it’s not my biggest concern, it just a matter of learning process. Continuing projects is my biggest focus.

I work with a local NGO in Manila called CANVAS Philippines which provide 1 million books for a million Filipino kids. With CANVAS providing books I was able to deliver into rural area of Leyte that I visited like the Elementary schools and Daycare Centers.

I also work with Balangiga Without Border (BWB) a Local NGO in Samar that also provide books for High School and wheelchairs.”  

Despite his modesty Siggy continues to do an amazing job supporting local NGOs and families affected by Haiyan. He also loves his job and is incredibly grateful to the amazing donors who continue to support IDV’s work in Tacloban.

Siggy summed this up below.

“Even if everything is quite hard at the start, at the end it is becoming [about] more than the pay I have, especially the big smile from the families that I see. A smile that silently saying thank you deep in their heart. It make me comfortable and happy of what I am doing helping community”

We think Siggy’s story is a great example of how the biggest heros are usually survivors themselves. Thank you so much for enabling Siggy and IDV to support over 10,000 of his fellow survivors since Haiyan. As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email I would be delighted to hear from you.

Siggy has a small stature but a BIG personality
Siggy has a small stature but a BIG personality
Over time Siggy took on more planning and managing
Over time Siggy took on more planning and managing
And Siggy still proudly flies the IDV flag today
And Siggy still proudly flies the IDV flag today
One survivor we helped provide with a wheelchair
One survivor we helped provide with a wheelchair

As an organisation IDV has always firmly believed in the importance of partnering with local people affected by disasters. And, as 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to highlight an example of this in our latest project report.

Over the last few months we’ve been working with an exciting grassroots organisation called Balangiga Without Borders (BWB). In their own words

“BWB was organized one month after Haiyan/Yolanda and is composed of donors and volunteers from around the world with one goal - to secure help for survivors properly with transparency.”

Part of the way BWB achieves this is through extensive use of social media. Their Facebook group has over 3,000 members and the needs of both communities and individual survivors are posted regularly.

Donations are made by the group’s members to meet these needs, and the impacts of the work carried out are then also posted to the group’s page. This creates a simple but effective loop between needs on the ground and willing benefactors who can directly see where their help is going.

However, while BWB has donors and volunteers from around the world some of its most crucial members are the survivor-volunteers in the affected areas. As survivors themselves these volunteers have a deep understanding of who most needs what, where and when.

They are able to effectively help their communities while also helping their own recovery. One of BWB’s founders Elma put it this way when describing the group’s beginning right after the typhoon:

“We had to keep busy to keep from getting DEPRESSED. We realized that SURVIVORS need to help themselves recover emotionally from trauma and shock. So we started VOLUNTEERING"

Over two years later BWB members have not grown weary of their work. But as 75% of its members are survivor-volunteers, resources are always in short supply.

So when BWB recently secured the donation of several wheelchairs for typhoon survivors they needed help transporting them to the various delivery locations. This is where we were able to step in thanks to your amazing support.

Although our international volunteers have now left the affected areas we’re continuing work through our local Project Manager, Siggy, who also looks after our vehicle in Tacloban. When we found out about BWB’s need to deliver the wheelchairs Siggy immediately offered to help.

And on November 29 and December 1 Siggy worked with BWB volunteers to deliver the wheelchairs to survivors in the provinces of Leyte and Eastern Samar. It was a great project to collaborate on and we’re hoping we can work together with BWB more often in the future.

So, as Christmas approaches, and 2015 draws to a close, we hope you’ll please consider donating once again to support the ongoing recovery of survivors from typhoon Haiyan.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email I would be delighted to hear from you.

It’s a particularly great time to give because donations to this project are currently being matched by incredible 100% on both the US and UK GlobalGiving websites. This means your gifts will literally go twice as far!

You can also donate as a gift to a loved one and send them a lovely card in the process.

Finally there’s also match funding available for any new recurring donations set up during the month. On the US GlobalGiving site your initial donation will receive a 100% match after four months (a limit of $200 applies).  On the UK site the terms are the same but the matching limit is £100.


The "Helen Thompson" truck was used for delivery
The "Helen Thompson" truck was used for delivery
IDV Project Manager Siggy delivered the chairs
IDV Project Manager Siggy delivered the chairs
Until the new year your donations will go further!
Until the new year your donations will go further!

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Organization Information

International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)

Location: Bristol, Somerset - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @IDVMedia
Project Leader:
Andy Chaggar
Bristol, Somerset United Kingdom

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