After Typhoon Haiyan, a Long Recovery Effort Lies Ahead

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Posted on 11/13/2013



The city of Ormoc was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
The city of Ormoc was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

Known locally in the Philippines as Yolanda, Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. The typhoon made landfall Nov. 8 and caused catastrophic damage across much of the island country. Despite the timely evacuation of areas expected to be hit hardest by Haiyan, the devastation wreaked by the typhoon was immense. Millions of families have been displaced from their homes, and as many as 2,500 people are feared dead in the storm's wake. The extent of the damage is making the delivery of aid very challenging, and without continued support, more lives could be lost.

Roads to Nowhere

Infrastructural damage caused by the storm is limiting relief efforts in many localities, including the city of Ormoc, on Leyte Island. ChildFund emergency response teams were among the first to reach Ormoc a few days after the storm. Response efforts have been hampered by the decimated infrastructure. Residents have no electricity, and potable water is scarce.

Dozens of roads have been swept away, making it difficult for nongovernmental organizations to effectively deliver food, water and medical supplies to children and their families. The World Food Programme has delivered more than 2,700 tons of rice to the Philippines since the storm, but many families are still at risk of going hungry.

The town of Guiuan was virtually wiped off the map after the typhoon's landfall, and the city of Tacloban has been hit particularly hard. More than 2 million people are still struggling to secure enough food because of the challenges in distribution. ChildFund, although we do not have sponsored children in Tacloban, is standing by to help.

In Tacloban, the devastation to the city's infrastructure is not the only challenge facing officials. Many of Tacloban's fleet of 220,000 light buses and taxis were destroyed by the typhoon, a situation that poses further challenges in delivering vital supplies to families most affected by the disaster.

"We need help. Nothing is happening," said Aristone Balute, an 81-year-old woman who failed to secure a seat on a flight out of Manila. "We haven't eaten since yesterday afternoon."

Balute is just one of millions of people facing an uncertain future. The extent of the damage prompted Alfred S. Romualdez, mayor of Tacloban, to urge residents to seek shelter with friends and family in other areas. Without ongoing support and aid, millions of children's lives are at risk.

Assessing the Damage

ChildFund has worked in the Philippines since 1954, and although we have seen many powerful storms ravage the country since beginning operations, none have matched the destruction of Haiyan.

No children enrolled in ChildFund's programs in the Philippines have been reported missing, but communication remains difficult and we are working with Hayag, one of our local partners, to assess the extent of the damage in Ormoc on Leyte Island. Our emergency response teams have successfully reached the area and have reported that 90 percent of Ormoc's infrastructure has been destroyed.

ChildFund and our partners in the ChildFund Alliance have launched an immediate campaign to raise $10 million to assist with vital relief efforts that could save lives. More than 4.5 million children are estimated to have been affected by the devastation wrought by Haiyan, and without the support of our donors, we will not be able to help Filipino families as effectively.

Please consider making a donation to ChildFund's Emergency Action Fund today to help families in the Philippines who have lost almost everything to this destructive typhoon. This important fund allows us to mobilize teams of emergency response specialists, provide food, water and medical supplies to children in need and their families, and offer ongoing psychosocial support to children who have seen their homes swept away by the force of the storm.