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One Month After Haiyan: New Zealand disaster relief

One Month After Haiyan: New Zealand disaster relief organisations say focus in Philippines is to ‘build back better’

A month after super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines Kiwis have donated almost $6 million, enabling New Zealand disaster relief organisations to reach over 200,000 families with food, water and sanitation, shelter and support to rebuild livelihoods.

The recovery is still very much in progress with difficulty getting supplies to some remote islands and isolated communities. More than half a million families are without housing and many people have lost livelihoods. The focus is now on making sure that what is being rebuilt will help people survive the predicted 20 or more typhoons a year the region will face.

‘Building back better’ is not just about more appropriate housing, it is also about strengthening infrastructure, protecting livestock, agriculture and fishing resources, having evacuation plans and equipment in place, and training in preparedness for future natural disasters.

“Even as we respond to the needs of those affected, members of the NGO Disaster Relief Forum (NDRF) are acutely aware that whatever is put in place must help build resilience for the people of the Philippines, who are vulnerable to more frequent and dangerous natural disasters,” says Ian McInnes, chair of NDRF and CEO of TEAR Fund.

New Zealand organisations have identified other major long-term challenges in the rebuild: the restoration of agriculture and fisheries which has affected food security and employment, for example a third of the rice production in the country has been affected; ensuring there are child friendly spaces in evacuation facilities, that children are protected from trafficking and that schools will be ready to reopen in the new year; providing psychosocial support and activities for communities where nearly 6000 people died and 1500 are still missing.

Mr McInnes says “New Zealand disaster relief organisations are working with their partners on the short and long term programmes in the Philippines and while the initial response from New Zealanders has been fantastic, people there still need support heading into Christmas and beyond.”

NDRF members involved in the response efforts are: ADRA, Caritas, cbm, ChildFund, CWS, Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam, Rotary New Zealand, The Salvation Army, Save the Children, SurfAid, TEAR Fund, UNICEF, World Vision and WSPA.

For more information on the crisis, or to donate to an appeal, visit the NDRF website: www.ndrf.org.nz

ENDS

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