One month since Typhoon Haiyan
WASHINGTON, DC (December 6, 2013) — As the world marks one month since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, a new report from World Vision calls for stronger disaster planning for cities to avoid widespread future devastation. The report, entitled Cities PrepareExternal Link, urges government leaders at all levels to recognize and take action on the dangers facing people living on the margins in urban centers when disasters strike.
In the Philippines, population densities for urban areas are as much as 6,000 people per square kilometer, which puts city dwellers — particularly those in the poorest communities — at heightened risk after disasters. Early analysis shows that the Philippines’ good standards of disaster risk reduction were simply overwhelmed by Typhoon Haiyan. Families affected by the storm say they followed early warnings and established procedures, but in many cases the shelters and evacuation centers failed to withstand the typhoon’s fury.
“Disasters like Typhoon Haiyan cannot be prevented, but with the proper action, the devastation they leave behind can be reduced,” says Chris Palusky, World Vision’s senior director of Humanitarian Emergencies. “With millions of people’s lives and livelihoods at risk, it is imperative that investments are made for cities to strengthen resilience against natural disasters.”
“In the aftermath of previous disasters, we’ve heard of examples where children have encouraged family members to evacuate when a disaster alert is sounded because they had learned to protect themselves,” says Angel Theodora, World Vision’s Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs director in the Asia-Pacific region. “If we can make that a more intentional process, children can contribute to strengthening the resilience of their families and their communities.”
“World Vision remains focused on reaching the impacted areas with basic supplies like food, water and temporary shelter, while also prioritizing the emotional well-being and protection of children by setting up Child-Friendly Spaces,” Palusky adds. “Life-saving assistance is still our top priority, but we are simultaneously beginning early recovery efforts, like helping families restore water and sanitation services, as well as, engaging in economic development activities.”
Among the highlights of World Vision’s relief efforts for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are:
• More than 106,000 people have received emergency food, water and hygiene supplies
• 14 Child-friendly Spaces and Women/Young Children’s Spaces are now operating in 10 municipalities.
• World Vision aims to provide relief supplies to more than 400,000 people in eight Philippine provinces in the coming weeks and beyond.