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.
Kinatarcan Island, in the Visayas Sea, was in the direct path of Typhoon Haiyan when it made its fourth landfall on November 8. In the aftermath, the Capitan (chief elder) of Langub village estimated that 90% of the island was destroyed.
But as the storm approached, Sara Godon didn’t know how bad it would be. She thought her husband, Alex, and two daughters could weather it at home.
When the typhoon winds began blasting their little house, however, they realized this storm was different than the many others they had endured over the years on the island.
As their wooden house literally blew away around them, the family decided to run to the nearby school for shelter. When they reached the school they discovered it was half-destroyed and not safe. So they ran to the Capitan’s house, the best built house in the village. They joined about 50 other people who had taken up refuge there.
The following day, after the storm had passed, Sara returned to her home to find there was no home left.
Her eldest daughter, 16-year-old Shara Mae says, “We were so shocked. We all just cried silently for a few hours to get over our emotions, and then we started collecting whatever we could find from our home that had blown into the trees.”
The family built a makeshift shack next to their destroyed home for temporary shelter. They and others lived off of small rations of corn meal and rice from the Capitan’s stock for the first week, wondering if they would ever receive help.
“We heard on the radio at the Capitan’s house that ships with aid were coming, but they never came here,” Sara says.
When Mercy Corps arrived at Kinatarcan Island to distribute food packages and emergency relief supplies a few days later, we went to the Capitan to organize a system that would ensure the most vulnerable people in the community received the aid supplies first.
Although it is an extremely peaceful and friendly community, the residents on the remote island, far off main boating routes, had received almost no aid since the typhoon struck and were becoming nervous that they may not get food to survive.
We know from previous disasters that people get desperate and sometimes aggressive or hostile when they feel vulnerable and threatened. Aid distributions can become chaotic if not implemented carefully.
While we unloaded food packages and blankets, the Capitan volunteered Sara to manage the list of recipients.
“Sara is the most honest person on this island,” he said as he introduced her.
We distribute goods first to women who are pregnant or have children under 5 years of age, then to the elderly and people with disabilities, before reaching the rest of the community.
Sara turned out to be not only a totally honest person, but also incredibly organized and energetic. She ran the distribution checklist like a master of ceremonies, ensuring everyone received an aid package with dignity and efficiency.
She worked tirelessly all morning, helping her community, despite the fact that, like most people on the island, the super typhoon had taken away her home, her husband’s livelihood as a fisherman, and pretty much everything her family had.
It will be a long rebuilding process for this devastated community, but the distribution was the start of recovery for this determined woman and her neighbors.
“Finally, aid has arrived and we are so grateful,” said Sara. “We are so thankful to Mercy Corps for bringing food and some supplies. It really helps us, and now we know we are not alone.”
Thank you for empowering incredible people like Sara Godon to rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan. Together we are providing critical food, water and supplies to survivors in isolated areas like Kinatarcan Island that have yet to recieve critical aid. Your compassion reminds them that they are not alone.
"We are relying on the kind people who have given food to us on the island. Without these donations we would have nothing to eat. Thank you for coming to us… We are just trying to survive here."
—Hani Pinton, mother of two
On remote Kinatarcan Island, devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, families had been waiting days for help to arrive. In the aftermath of the historic storm, there's no potable water, no electricity, and 75% of homes are critically damaged or completely destroyed. But because of you, our emergency response team was the first to reach this isolated island. Your generosity made it possible for us to distribute essential food packages to residents in the fishing village of Barangay Langub. Because of you, mothers of newborn babies were given towels and blankets. Because of you, children now have safe water to drink.
See firsthand how your donation is making a difference for thousands of Typhoon Haiyan survivors in this short video. Watch your thank you video!
Mercy Corps' team of seasoned emergency responders is focused on identifying gaps in assistance and reaching survivors in remote locations who have yet to receive critical help. While we address the immediate humanitarian needs, we are also working to help families begin rebuilding for the long term. None of this would be possible without your generous support. On behalf of families in the Philippines, and everyone at Mercy Corps, thank you for being there. Sincerely, Dan O’Neill Mercy Corps Founder
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