Super Typhoon Haiyan pounded central Philippines,including Leyte and Samar provinces on November 8. The number of dead and missing has climbed to more than7,200 people. According to the Philippine government, Haiyan affected over 14 million people in one way oranother, which accounts for more than 10% of the total population. Although one month has passed since the powerful typhoon swept through the region, many peopleare still taking shelter in evacuation centers or devastatedareas near the ruins of their homes.
Typhoon Haiyan kept its intensity while approaching thePhilippines and registered a maximum wind velocity of 325kph. In addition to the strong winds and torrential rain, it also brought powerful storm surges resembling tsunami, which added to the damage. Moreover, many people in Leyte province have been living in poverty to begin with and the area had not been equipped with sufficient disaster management systems. Many of the residents of this province originally lived along the coast where the land is almost atsea level. But with the rapid development and economic growth of urban areas, the outflow of the poor spurred, resulting in more than half of the population living in crude housing--another factor that caused extensive damage.
Our aid activities went through difficulties due to disruptions in communication and transportation. We have faced many challenges: delays in shipping emergency relief goods from Manila to disaster-hit provinces; difficulties in obtaining transportation, such as ferries to the affected areas and trucks to deliver relief supplies; and deterioration in public security making it difficult for beneficiaries to reach distribution sites.Clara a 62 year-old native of Leyte province, said, “I have been making a living as a rice farmer. The typhoon took away all the harvested rice and seeds for the next season.What am I supposed to do?” Next was Romel, 42, who told us about his struggle to survive. “I live in an area far from the main road, so no relief deliveries had been made to my area. And on November 15, I finally received my first food ration dropped from a helicopter. It was the only emergency aid made available to me after the disaster.”
In order to aid those who are overcome by the dire situation, Civic Force set up a designated bank account for donations for those affected in the Philippines starting November 11. At the same time, we dispatched our staff members, includingthose who are originally from the Philippines and provided emergency supplies. In our report this month, we will introduce the relief activities we have been involved in fromthe day Haiyan hit the area until now.
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