When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on 8th November 2013 the destruction left in its wake was unprecedented. Haiyan was one of the strongest Typhoons ever to make land fall. The storm and storm surge from the ocean that followed left a path of destruction across the Visayas region of the Philippines.
From the outset ACTED worked hard to support those households most affected by the disaster, deploying experienced humanitarian professionals as rapidly as two days post disaster, and continues to support the disaster response three months on.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan ACTED has been able to distribute shelter materials, and essential non-food items, such as blankets to over 25,500 households with the support of IOM and DFID, and a partnership with Shelter Box.
Through a partnership with the World Food Program, ACTED distributed emergency rice rations to 279,000 people each month in December 2013 and January 2014. These distributions responded to the food needs of vulnerable people who had lost their food stocks and crops and were no longer able to access markets due to the debris and destruction that the typhoon had caused. Markets were not able to operate forweeks following Haiyan because of supply routes blocked by debris and damaged stock.
Long term health, water, sanitation and hygiene support
ACTED is pursuing its emergency response by supporting the safe collection of infectious waste and debris from 11 of the main hospitals which serve communities in Leyte province (including those hospitals serving the severely affected Tacloban city), with the support of UNDP. This is an important service to ensure that disease and infection do not spread and survivors from Haiyan are able to access proper medical care post disaster.
Assisting further in health, ACTED has partnered with Solidarities International to implement an emergency water, sanitation and hygiene project with funding from UNICEF. Through the project ACTED is addressing emergency needs in rural areas for safe water collection and sanitation systems, with the distribution of water purification kits and emergency latrine construction kits.
Working towards improving sanitation and hygiene in the long term, ACTED is also conducting hygiene promotion campaigns alongside the distributions to ensure that communities have the knowledge and education to continue safe sanitation practices into the future and that families remain healthy.
Restoring livelihoods and income generation
While ACTED continues to support these emergency needs through its waste management program, the overall humanitarian response is also shifting to a longer term focus on early recovery, more specifically on restoring peoples’ livelihoods.
ACTED is working with local communities on income generation projects which will combine the need for agricultural land clearance with an immediate cash injection through cash for work initiatives, supporting a wide range of vulnerable families to re-establish their livelihoods and boost their income. This shift in focus aims to help families rebuild their businesses or clear their land for agricultural planting and production so that they can be self-sustaining in the future.
ACTED will continue to assist the communities it works with in the Philippines and remains committed to providing them with long term support.