Six months after Typhoon Haiyan, families struggle to earn $2.50 a day

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Six months after one of the largest typhoons ever recorded, many survivors are struggling to earn AUD $2.50 a day, aid organisation CARE Australia says.

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on 8 November last year, affected more than 14 million people, leaving more than 6,000 dead and forcing more than four million people into makeshift or temporary shelter.

The ‘super typhoon’ also caused an estimated $723 million in damages to crops, livestock, fisheries and agricultural infrastructure in central Philippines.

‘Six months on, many typhoon survivors are struggling to earn enough to get by. There is considerably less work available now compared to before Haiyan, and many people have started farm labouring, often earning 100 to 150 pesos a day (between AUD $2.40 and $3.60),’ said Lex Kassenberg, CARE’s Country Director in the Philippines.

‘With crops needing many months before they begin to produce yields, Haiyan survivors are starting basic businesses such as small grocery stalls or material weaving to earn a small income to help feed and clothe their families. CARE’s priority is to give these people a helping hand to re-start their livelihoods.’

CARE is now providing grants and support to help survivors return to work in communities throughout Panay and Samar, two of the islands hardest hit by the typhoon. Mr Kassenberg said many communities were pooling funds and were investing in small businesses that will provide a reliable income for many families.

‘Families are coming together to build small vegetable or pig farms to help generate an income for their barangay (village). Our focus is on helping these communities support each other through the recovery.’

Reflecting on the progress made since November, Mr Kassenberg said the last six months had demonstrated both the resilience of the Filipino people and the generosity of the region to support those in desperate need.

Yet he added the process of recovery would be long. ‘Since the response began, CARE has reached more than 300,000 people – around 65,000 families – with food, shelter and support to rebuild their lives.’

‘Yet while Filipinos are extraordinarily resilient people, recovery from a disaster of this magnitude is not simply about timber and nails, bricks and mortar. Our focus now is on giving survivors the means to earn an income, to ensure that in three, six, 12 and 18 months’ time, they will continue to be able to put food on the table.’

He added that the response from Australians to CARE’s Typhoon Haiyan Appeal had been outstanding. ‘Australians have shown remarkable generosity through their support for CARE’s response in the Philippines.

This support has, and will continue to be, crucial to helping families recover.’ Australians wishing to support families affected by Typhoon Haiyan can donate at $73 can help a family restart their income by building a vegetable farm, replanting rice or raising livestock such as chickens or goats.

CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. CARE has worked in the Philippines since 1949, providing emergency relief and helping communities prepare for future disasters.

Interviews with CARE representatives in Philippines and Australia are available.
For more information please contact CARE Australia Media Advisor Tom Perry (0419 567 777)