Philippines: Transitioning from Emergency Response to Long-Term Stability

donate-nowIn the Philippines, we find good news: Recovery is underway after Typhoon Haiyan tore through islands, homes and lives in November. Communities are clearing debris from their streets and beginning to rebuild. CRS has transitioned from emergency assistance to programs that are laying the foundation for long-term recovery and stability.

In the Philippines, recovery is underway after Typhoon Haiyan tore through its islands in November 2013, leaving lives in ruin. Typhoon Haiyan’s 195 mph winds flattened towns, schools, infrastructure and entire coastal villages. An estimated 6,201 people perished in the storm, 1,785 are missing and 1.1 million homes were damaged or destroyed. It is the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall.

Three months after the super storm, rebuilding is underway. Mountains of debris have been cleared from streets and neighborhoods, toppled homes have tarps and new frames made from salvaged wood, and schools have resumed. Yet, it is a long road to recovery. Heavy rains and deep mud are affecting distributions, rebuilding efforts and, most notably, the living conditions of those who have only basic materials for protection.

CRS Commitment
With an outpouring of support from individuals and dioceses across the United States, CRS was able to commit early on to helping 100,000 families—500,000 people—with shelter, living supplies, water, sanitation and hygiene, debris clearing and income recovery. CRS will focus these efforts on the heavy-hit islands of Leyte and Samar, and in the areas of Palo, Tacloban, Ormoc and eastern Samar. We anticipate the recovery to span 3 to 5 years, at an amount of $50 million.

Impact to Date
CRS has supported 40,000 families (200,000 people) with emergency shelter, clean water and sanitation, and debris clearing. Specifically, we have provided 42,921 tarps for shelter; completed 22 full permanent shelters; distributed 35,620 water, sanitation and hygiene kits; installed water taps and water bladders for 13,120 people; and provided cash-for-work activities that have removed 3,991 tons of debris. CRS is constructing model homes that are easily adopted by local communities. We are also training staff on the use of the iPad mini and iFormBuilder to improve speed and quality.

Priority Areas Moving Forward
As of January, CRS began transitioning into recovery activities that support longer-term needs, with a comprehensive approach that focuses on shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, disaster risk reduction and livelihoods.

Shelter Recovery: CRS is supporting permanent housing solutions that use local materials, as well as corrugated iron sheets to construct similar A-frame homes of more durable, disaster-resistant materials. We are training carpenters and supplying them with essential carpentry tools for working with communities on their new shelters. Water programs will be integrated into the shelter design and building. This is because home construction and repairs will include the sanitation infrastructure, as well as the infrastructure for water supply.

Livelihoods/Income recovery: Income-recovery efforts at the start focused on cash-for-work activities to remove the piles of debris. Now, CRS is implementing a phased livelihoods response to rebuild people’s incomes and stability: Phase 1 will focus on restoring assets; Phase 2 will rebuild and diversify livelihood options (with agriculture trainings and strengthening small-scale agro-enterprise and market opportunities); and Phase 3 will focus on reaching profitable markets and increasing production. Currently in Phase 1, CRS is organizing agricultural and other fairs for farmers and those in the fishing community to receive vouchers worth 1,500 pesos ($34.88) to purchase vegetable, seeds, tools and equipment.

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