Statement by the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, on behalf of the humanitarian Country Team and the United Nations Country Team, on the first anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

(Manila, 6 November 2014)

Marking the first anniversary of super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) the Humanitarian Country Team and the United Nations Country Team and their partners in the Philippines take the opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives and to acknowledge the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people.

Typhoon Haiyan struck land in the early hours of 8 November 2013, causing death, injury and the destruction of services and infrastructure. The scale of the typhoon was unprecedented and damage stretched over many thousands of miles, affecting 14 million people in its path.

“We are humbled by the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people who, despite the unprecedented destruction and tragedy that struck, pushed through individually and collectively, and with generosity of spirit, to this point where recovery is well underway,” said Luiza Carvalho, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines.

She continued, “We are privileged to have been able to contribute to the humanitarian response led by the Government of the Philippines and will continue to support recovery efforts at all levels and in particular through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery and relevant line ministries.”

In partnership with national agencies, local governments, donors, private sector, and civil society, the Humanitarian Country Team served, among others, roughly 3.7 million people with food assistance; 82,000 mothers given feeding counsel; 23,000 pregnant and lactating women with pre-natal and post-natal care; almost 1 million people with rehabilitated water systems; 350,000 with new or rehabilitated latrines; 570,000 households with emergency shelter; 162,000 households with emergency employment; 102,000 people provided information on prevention and management of gender-based violence in emergencies; 20,101 young people provided with information and services on health and protection; and 100,000 farmers with agricultural seeds and tools. Additionally, 4,900 temporary learning spaces were created, 545,000 children received learning materials, and public health outbreaks were effectively prevented.

“We thank donors as well as our Government counterparts for the trust in us to deliver life-saving and protection services. We recognize that this assistance was just part of a total pool of human and material resources volunteered by both local and international communities.”

Ms. Carvalho observed that recovery started as soon as two months after the event, with UN agencies and partners fully shifting gears to rehabilitation and development work in August, due to the good results of humanitarian phase and in response to the GoP’s official launch of the recovery phase. Among others, UN agencies and partners have been assisting the Department of Social Welfare and Development build transitional shelter for families living in tents and evacuation centers. “We commend the efforts of Government and partners and look forward to this kind of effective and focused partnership to drive the recovery phase.”

She concluded, “We recognize that ‘building back better’ will be a complex and long process, particularly the rehabilitation of human settlements and the restoration of livelihoods. There is also the immediate concern of preparedness against upcoming weather systems for families and communities whose coping mechanisms are not completely restored. Through the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), the government has clearly outlined the work that lies ahead. We are committed to support this process.”

Please contact:
Dulce Saret, UN Coordination Office, Manila: +63 9088878277, dulcemarie@yahoo.com
Orla Fagan, OCHA Regional Office, Bangkok: + 63 91 75977219, fagano@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.