On 8 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, affecting about 14 million people. Three months on, despite a huge national and international effort, humanitarian need across affected areas remains enormous.
What Oxfam is doing
Oxfam is working on the islands of Cebu, Leyte and Samar. We have reached almost 550,000 people with emergency relief during the first three months of the response. This includes supplying clean water to more than 200,000 people in Tacloban by supporting the government to repair and fix broken pipes.
We have provided people with hygiene kits, sanitation services, cash support, water kits, rice seed, shelter materials, kits for pregnant women, hygiene education and cleaned waste and debris. We are also helping to prevent diseases, such as dengue and malaria spreading, in cooperation with the Department of Health in Tacloban.
We are supporting fisherfolk and coconut farmers, particularly women, whose means of earning a living have been decimated by the typhoon and we are poised to provide start-up capital for small businesses, as well as equipment such as fishing nets and kits, seeds and fertiliser.
We believe that, now is the time to focus on bolstering longer-term support to boost income so people no longer need to rely on emergency aid. It is crucial people are given the help they need to recover their ability to earn a living through replacement of or compensation for lost equipment or savings, as well as training and start-up capital.
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Super typhoon Haiyan (locally Yolanda) is another deadly warning of what much of the world can expect unless we can minimize climate change.
- Around 14 million people have been affected, some 6,000 killed, and an estimated 4.4 million displaced. Despite the massive logistical challenges and widespread destruction, the relief effort has helped millions to survive.
- Major gaps remain, however, especially in rural and hard to reach areas. Like most disasters, typhoon Haiyan has hit the poorest and the most vulnerable people the hardest. 4 out of 10 families in the affected provinces were living below the poverty line before Haiyan hit. Many families lived from small-scale agriculture, fishing and from low paid jobs and micro-enterprises in towns and cities.
- The typhoon affected a third of the country's rice growing areas and missing the current planting season will potentially leave millions of people without their staple food.
- Longer-term support is needed to help communities build back better and protect people against future shocks. The Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) plan issued by the Philippines government on 18 December outlines many positive principles and intentions. However, it lacks a bold vision for significantly tackling poverty and inequality.
Justin Morgan, our Country Director in the Philippines, said:
“It’s been immensely challenging to get aid through, but the response, both from the people of the Philippines and the international community, has been amazing.
"Our main concern now is supporting rural communities who have not received anything like adequate assistance yet and making sure people are able to quickly rebuild their homes, infrastructure and livelihoods, in a way that will make them more resilient to future shocks.
“Typhoon Haiyan is the shape of things to come - with climate change set to increase the severity of typhoons in the region and projected sea level rises to compound the effects of deadly storm surge. The Philippines will need sustained support and programmes to prepare for more storms like this. Ultimately it also needs action on reducing the threat of climate change.”
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Last updated 4 February 2014.