Massive shelter response in Central Philippines one month after Typhoon Haiyan

by IOM | @lowryjoe | International Organization for Migration
Saturday, 7 December 2013 03:20 GMT

IOM/Joe Lowry

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Philippines - As the emergency phase in the relief effort following typhoon Haiyan moves into early recovery, IOM is intensifying its efforts to provide improved shelter for the hundreds of thousands left homeless in Central Philippines.

Although the numbers of people living in community centres or sharing with friends and relatives is slowly decreasing the needs are still immense. Over a million homes are estimated to have been damaged, leaving four million people displaced.

A massive logistics chain is now in place in this Philippine government-led response and the first sets of corrugated iron sheeting have arrived in the city of Tacloban, together with training material on how to build back safer. This is now being loaded onto trucks for delivery tomorrow to 600 most vulnerable families. Over 10,000 additional recovery shelter kits are also already in the country.  “The limitation will not be procurement capacity, logistics capacity, or humanitarian need.  The limitation we will face is financing.  Whatever money we have received we have spent,” noted Marco Boasso, IOM’s chief of mission in the Philippines.

In total, 18,000 corrugated iron sheets, accompanied by tool kits (hammers, saws, crowbars, shovels and fixing kits) will arrive in the shattered city this weekend, and be distributed to 1,700 families. Another 100,000 sheets and kits are in the pipeline.

In the coming days the Organization will send iron sheets, blankets, tools, nails, ropes, tarpaulins, jerry cans, buckets, mats, bamboos, solar lamps and kitchen sets via its operational hubs in Tacloban, Cebu, Roxas, Ormoc and Guiuan, to serve 50,000 families. Solar lamps, blankets and jerry cans were distributed to over 230 families in one of the poorest parts of Tacloban yesterday.

“Our aim is to help get people into safe, secure accommodation where they can rebuild their lives,” said Conrado Navidad, National Emergency Coordinator for IOM in the Philippines. “Our trucks are ready to roll and we will work alongside the Government to ensure distributions reach the needy as quickly as possible. We are also ready to support the Government as needed in finding durable, long-term solutions.”

Meanwhile, 143 displaced sites have been surveyed by IOM teams, building up a detailed picture of the needs, conditions and trends across a wide area of typhoon Haiyan’s path.

“We are using our Displacement Tracking Matrix to receive information and react to situations as they arise,” said Navidad. “This mechanism has been used after previous typhoons in the Philippines, as well as in places like Haiti, Pakistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. It allows us to have a continuous, real-time dialogue with displaced communities, sharing information about aid, and responding to requests.”

Working with the Philippine government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other partners, IOM is creating a Communications With Communities (CwC) network integrating local journalists, SMS, call centres, social and traditional media. The project targets 500,000 people in displaced centres and host communities, with a strong emphasis on women and children.

For more information and for interviews on the one-month anniversary please contact

Joe Lowry in Tacloban
Tel: +63 927 6298700