Philippines: Earthquakes injure hundreds
From October 16-31, the Philippines was hit by a series of earthquakes in Tulunan and North Cotabato, killing 21 people and injuring more than 400. Schools, homes, and health centers experienced extensive damage. An estimated 231,000 Filipinos were affected, including 36,000 evacuees, who are living in 32 evacuation centers. More than 1,000 schools have been damaged, affecting more than 3 million students.
In early November, Humanity & Inclusion’s team completed a needs assessment, focusing on the most vulnerable individuals—people with disabilities, older adults, and pregnant women. "Many people with disabilities cannot access distribution sites—for food, for example—some of which are remote,” explains Reiza Dejito, director of Humanity & Inclusion in the Philippines. “And when they do, there is often a long line, which makes it very difficult for people with disabilities to access them. Hampering things is the fact that disaster-affected people also have little or no money. And if they do have money, to buy food, for instance, then they don’t have any kitchen utensils. Access to safe drinking water is also a real problem.”
“Many houses have also been destroyed or damaged, so residents sleep in evacuation centers, in tents, or in makeshift shelters. It is very hot during the day and at night it rains. They need blankets, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, etc. With so many people living outside, there is little privacy and one mother told us she had to change her son, who has a disability, in front of everyone. This creates problems around the protection of the most vulnerable people.”
Humanity & Inclusion’s top priority is to meet the basic needs of disaster-affected people, including access to drinking water, shelter, and sanitation. We will also provide victims of this disaster with rehabilitation care and psychological support.
Humanity & Inclusion in the Philippines
For more than 34 years, Humanity & Inclusion's teams in the Philippines have worked with people affected by natural disasters in the archipelago, including a large-scale response to Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which affected more than 14 million people and claimed more than 6,000 lives.