The Philippines is a country that consists of more than 7,000 islands and where most of the population is concentrated in just 11 these islands. In recent decades, the Philippine economy has deteriorated progressively, which has had a particular impact on the country's poorest classes. The most extreme case is that of the island of Mindanao, which is the richest in mineral and agricultural resources, but in which paradoxically 7 out of 10 families are living below the poverty line.
The Philippines is a country traditionally governed by an oligarchy with semi-feudal structures that reinforce the interests of the landowning elite. Poor governance has contributed to the persistence of poverty. Due to unfavorable conditions in the country and by taking advantage of their professionalism and proficiency in English, many Filipinos have migrated abroad. For this reason the local economy is quite dependent on currency transfers.
On 8 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever to strike land, hit the Philippines. Over one million coconut farming households and 200,000 fishing households have been affected, sectors characterized by already-subsistence level incomes. One year since Haiyan struck, despite the significant levels of humanitarian assistance delivered to the Philippines, families continue to struggle to find the resources to resume their livelihoods, with risks of deepening poverty in an already-poor region.
Oxfam in Philipines
In the first year of our response, we have reached over 868,000 survivors in Leyte, Samar, and Cebu with both urgent and long term support. Since last November 2013, Oxfam has invested $42 million (of a $65 million three-year plan) to help with:
- clean water supplies, community latrines, water pumps, cash vouchers for food and home repairs;
- fishing boat replacement and repairs;
- clearing coconut tree debris;
- and setting up sawmills to convert the debris into lumber for shelters.