Philippines: Greater support needed for Typhoon Haiyan survivors

by International Committee of the Red Cross | International Committee of the Red Cross
Friday, 6 December 2013 12:00 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Guiuan: Red Cross volunteers off-load boxes of household essentials at the Guiuan relief distribution site. ICRC / Brecht Goris 

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"Comparing Typhoon Haiyan with the 2004 tsunami, the death toll is much lower, but almost five times as many people have been affected”, says Bernd Schell, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) country representative. “We plan on helping communities to rebuild their lives over the next three to four years. This will require considerable resources and sustained support from donors”.

Overall, the incomes of more than 5 million people have been disrupted or lost in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, leaving an estimated 2.4 million people requiring food relief. Across affected areas of Cebu, Panay, Leyte and Samar, Red Cross food aid has so far reached over 440,000 people and more than 500,000 people have been given access to safe water.


Guiuan: A young woman leaves a relief distribution site after receiving a box containing household essentials. Several evacuation centres sheltering people displaced by the typhoon are situated in Guiuan.© ICRC / B. Goris

“The generosity in the immediate aftermath of Haiyan enabled us to deliver food, water and health care to people still in desperate need of vital aid," says Alain Aeschlimann, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of operations for the region. "We will be concentrating recovery efforts on highly affected, difficult-to-reach communities in areas already beset by armed conflict."

As relief efforts continue to gather pace, Red Cross and Red Crescent partners are now starting early recovery programmes aimed at building the long-term resilience of typhoon-stricken communities; helping families to reconstruct stronger, safer houses, kick-starting local economies by providing cash grants and launching cash-for-work schemes, and continuing to support local health services providing curative and preventive health care, as well as rebuilding essential health facilities.

Teams from the IFRC and ICRC are working to support the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), which mobilised over 1,000 volunteers when it launched its emergency response operation immediately after the typhoon struck. Since then, the PRC has been distributing food and essential relief items and providing clean water and health services, while also tracing missing people, supporting body retrieval, helping with debris clearance and providing psychosocial support to the communities concerned.

“Over 4 million people have been displaced from their homes”, says Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the PRC. “They need to know they will have a safe home to return to, livelihood to help rebuild their lives and that they will not be forgotten”.

For more information, please contact:

In the Philippines:

Gwendolyn Pang, Philippine Red Cross Secretary General. Mobile: +63 920 952 72 68In Tacloban: Patrick Fuller - Communications IFRC: +63 928 904 71 15  Twitter:@pat_fullerIn Cebu: Nichola Jones - Communications IFRC: +63 920 222 24 65 Twitter: @nicjones81In Manilla: Cecilia Goin, Communications ICRC: +63 999 887 09 69

In Geneva:

Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, Communications IFRC: +41 79 213 24 13 Twitter: @BenoistC Ewan Watson, Communications ICRC: +41 22 730 33 45 or +41 79 244 64 Twitter: EWatsonICRC