“I now tell my classmates and friends that they should come to my house on rainy days because it will be safer. I love my house. I feel safe to live and study here,” said Kim Huyen, 10, reflecting on the new home she and her family moved in to in Quang Nam province, Vietnam, after years of living in makeshift homes fearing the next destructive typhoon.
The Asia-Pacific region is the most disaster-prone area of the world, but thankfully fewer people died from natural disasters in 2012 than in previous years. However, a staggering 64 million people were still impacted by man-made and natural disasters this year and Habitat for Humanity was there to help many affected families across the region.
In January 2012, Habitat supported 62 families in Cikangung community in the village of Negara, Banten province, in Indonesia, with emergency shelter kits and rebuilding after the province was devastated by flooding.
On 15 May, fire swept through Aurahi Village Development Committee (VDC) in Siraha district, in southern Nepal, leaving hundreds of families without homes. Habitat for Humanity Nepal distributed materials such as bamboo, galvanized iron sheeting, nails and cement so 461 families could rebuild their destroyed homes.
Pramod Kumar Rajak, a resident of ward-6 in Aurahi VDC, said: “I really like the working style of Habitat. They showed us how to build our house with the provided materials and then we built our home. They managed the distribution of materials efficiently and everybody was able to build their houses quickly. Our village has changed now. I am no longer worried about our home.” Pramod is part of a 10-person household, and his family lost their home and all their possessions to the fire.
During the summer, heavy monsoon rains, tropical storms and typhoons brought flooding to Assam state in India, many regions of the Philippines’ Luzon island, including Metro Manila, and vast areas of Vietnam. Habitat was there, supporting tens of thousands of affected low-income families to clean-up, repair homes and rebuild.
Within weeks of each other in December, typhoon Bopha hit Mindanao, the Philippines’ second largest island, and tropical cyclone Evan devastated the Pacific island of Samoa, Fiji, Wallis and Fatuna. Typhoon Bopha, known locally in the Philippines as Pablo, killed more than 1,000 people and affected over 6.2 million. Habitat launch fundraising appeals for both disasters. To date, more than 700 shelter repair kits have been distributed to families with damaged homes in Mindano by Habitat for Humanity Philippines, and a disaster response plan is being formulated for both Fiji and Samoa by our colleagues in Fiji and New Zealand respectively. “The need is great and we are appealing for funds so that we can help more affected families in the region. As in previous disasters, we are committed to supporting these families in rebuilding their lives and gaining access to decent shelter, which is the foundation for breaking the poverty cycle,” said Rick Hathaway, Asia-Pacific vice-president for Habitat for Humanity.
To donate and help families impacted by Cyclone Evan or Typhoon Bopha, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.
For more on the story about Huyen and her family’s move into their Habitat home in Vietnam, click here.