Philippines

Six Months After Super-Typhoon, Philippines Risks Another Humanitarian Crisis

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Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, the strongest storm on record to make landfall, left a trail of destruction of devastating proportions when it hit the central Philippines in November last year.

Though the humanitarian situation has stabilized over the past six months, IOM along with the wider humanitarian community, is now highlighting the hundreds of thousands of people left vulnerable as the next typhoon season approaches, with shelter and livelihoods restoration the key priorities for ensuring long-term recovery.

On top of essential non-food items and emergency shelter kits distributed in the earlier phase of the response, IOM has delivered more than 20,000 recovery shelter kits, providing the tools and materials needed to build durable homes, with plans to more than double this amount by December 2014. Trainings on disaster risk reduction and how to build back safe buildings have reached nearly 25,000 households.

But estimates indicate that 380,000 households still urgently need support in rebuilding strong, resilient homes. In addition, a recent IOM survey in Eastern Samar, where the super-typhoon first made landfall, found that the area remains unprepared for future typhoons, with more than 90 per cent of designated evacuation centres (schools, churches, community centres) destroyed or badly damaged.

Over 5,000 families are still living in more than 60 displacement sites (evacuation centres, tent cities, spontaneous settlements and transitional shelter) across the region. IOM deploys camp management staff to these sites and has given trainings to over 2,500 local government staff and volunteers from various organizations.

IOM health teams also regularly visit displacement sites and have seen over 37,000 patients since the beginning of the response. The risk of disease outbreak is a major concern, especially given that many hospitals and health facilities remain damaged.

Human trafficking remains a threat, with many of the displaced having moved from the affected areas to the urban centres. IOM supports the local authorities and community groups by offering trainings to raise awareness of these dangers and to enable them to identify potential trafficking victims.

To help ensure that affected populations have access to reliable information and are able to have a say about the appropriateness and effectiveness of the emergency response, IOM uses radio, print and creative media to engage with communities. The need for factual information remains crucial in the recovery phase.

“With 40 per cent of its funding appeal still unmet, IOM is asking for renewed focus in order to maintain the significant progress that has been made so far. Millions of people still live in fear of extreme, unpredictable weather events,” said IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Marco Boasso.

IOM sub-offices across the affected region will be marking the six-month point on the 8th May through a programme of community-led activities aimed at further engaging affected populations in the recovery process.

On the same day, the agency is launching a book and website in Tacloban, the city that suffered the highest number of casualties. "Typhoon Haiyan: Portraits of Recovery" explores the challenges faced by individuals from across the Visayas region in the aftermath of the typhoon.

For more information please go to: http://philippineresponse.iom.int/.

More photos may be downloaded from http://goo.gl/NBJ1Xq. No restrictions on use; please credit IOM.

For more information, please contact Marco Boasso at IOM Philippines, Email: mboasso@iom.int, Tel. +63.917.8485306 or Joe Lowry at IOM’s Regional Office for Asia-Pacific in Bangkok, Email: jlowry@iom.int, Tel. +66 81 870 8081.

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