Almost three months have passed since one of the worst storms in recorded history, survivors of Typhoon Haiyan across the Visayas region of central Philippines are moving on with their lives. The streets echo with the sound of hammering and drilling as makeshift shelters built from tarpaulins are slowly improved with roof sheets and salvaged timber. Power lines are steadily being restored and the telecommunication network is connecting more communities who have been isolated sine the typhoon struck. However, gaps remain in the aid effort, with relief slow to arrive in some of the more remote inland areas. Although they escaped the impact of the tidal surge along the coast, these communities were hit hard by the fierce winds.
According to the Philippines authorities, as of 29 January over 6,200 people are reported dead. More than 16 million people from 44 provinces were affected with nearly 4 million people are displaced. Over 1.1 million houses are either damaged or destroyed, over 50% of them fully destroyed.
Hong Kong Red Cross Actions
The Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) launched an emergency appeal to the Hong Kong public from 12 November for donations to support its typhoon relief operations in the affected areas. As of 29 January, more than HKD 29 million has been received from the generosity of HK public and a total of 81 corporations, organizations and schools have organized fundraising activities for HKRC.
Over HK$12 million has been allocated by the HKRC for deployment of personnel and procurement of relief and early recovery materials in the Philippines, benefiting about 95,000 people.
The aid includes:
- Distribution of 3,250 family hygiene kits and 13,500 blankets and sleeping mats;
- Offering over 17,300 families with food pack (including rice, noodles, palm oil, corned beef, canned fish, sugar, salt, soy sauce, coffee) up to one month;
- Provision of school equipment including student chair, teacher desk and blackboard in 20 temporary schools in Tacloban.
A total of 9 medical volunteers have been deployed to support the International Red Cross’s emergency operation in providing medical and basic healthcare service to the affected people in Leyte, Cebu and Samar. Eight of them have already completed their mission and returned to Hong Kong. The service will be gradually handed over to local counterparts in February.
A HKRC Restoring Family Link (RFL) Specialist also completed her one-month mission on 23 December 2013 in the Philippines. During her stay in Leyte, she and her team had handled over 300 emergency tracing cases.
After the typhoon, the HKRC also provided Emergency Tracing Service for people in Hong Kong looking for missing family members in the Philippines, and Psychological Support Service to those in need, through hotline, psychological education sharing sessions and out-reach service. Up to 29 January, the HKRC has received 140 emergency tracing enquiries, and provided 68 times of psychological support service via hotline. Earlier, about 180 Philippine domestic helpers participated in our sharing session.
As the emergency relief activities fading out, two more Hong Kong Red Cross staff have been deployed to support the planning and execution of early recovery operations in Manila and Tacloban in January.
Other Red Cross Actions
With a global appeal revised on 16 January, seeking a total of CHF 141 million (approximately HKD 1.2 billion) to support 136,000 families (approximately 680,000 people) with food, clean water, shelter and other essential relief over a period of 2 years, the following Red Cross actions have been completed in the Philippines:
- Over 1 million people have received food aid from Red Cross;
- Up to 9,000 families continue to benefit from access to clean drinking water daily;
- Over 54,000 tarpaulins have been distributed;
- Over 95,000 families have received non-food items including jerry cans, sleeping mats and blankets;
- Over 42,000 families have received hygiene kits while 37,000 people have received health promotion;
- Over 50,000 hot meals have been provided to the displaced people at the evacuation centers;
- Distributed unconditional cash grant to 8,500 families;
- More than 8,600 volunteers have been deployed to support the emergency operations.
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