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A year since Typhoon Haiyan

A year since Typhoon Haiyan

November 8 marks one year since the world’s strongest typhoon slammed the Philippines with unimaginable force. In the last 12 months, World Vision has reached over one million people, with a focus on ‘building back better’.

November 8 marks one year since the world’s strongest typhoon slammed the Philippines with unimaginable force. In the last 12 months, World Vision has reached over one million people, with a focus on ‘building back better’.

Kiwis donated over $1.8 million to World Vision’s response and can be proud of the impact they are having on those whose lives were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

“Thanks to the help of generous Kiwis, affected families are rebuilding their lives, and children are returning to school. We have been able to support over one million Filipinos in the past year with vital food aid, healthcare, livelihood programmes and new homes,” said World Vision New Zealand CEO Chris Clarke, who was in the Philippines in the aftermath of the typhoon.

World Vision has exceeded its planned target reach of 750,000 individuals. Around 473,000 of these survivors were children. By ‘building back better’ World Vision hopes to ensure Filipinos are more prepared should another emergency hit. This means stronger housing, more varied livelihood skills and disaster preparedness.

The agency reports that sustaining long-term income opportunities continues to be the largest challenge within Haiyan-affected communities, with so many people losing their usual sources of income, or losing the household breadwinner in the storm. Another is improving resilience for future emergencies.

“We have had a focus on ‘building back better’, but there are still many challenges ahead as we work with the communities to restore livelihoods and to prepare for disasters yet to come.” Said Response Director Andrew Rosauer

Apart from shelter support, families also had the opportunity to receive assistance with livelihoods, health, education and other key needs identified. Cash-for-work programs have involved and supported more than 85,000 people and more than 21,000 have benefitted from livelihoods that include livestock distribution, skills trainings, business start-up toolkits and working with community savings groups.

Rosauer says that whilst he is proud that his team has given the response a hundred per cent, the one year mark is also a time to remember the devastation.

“It is important to remember those who lost their lives this time last year, and to honour the survivors’ courage, tenacity and strength. It is also a time to acknowledge the people who are still finding it difficult to adjust with so many losing loved ones, their homes, and their livelihoods.

“This year has had so many disasters that required the world’s attention: From the crisis’ in Syria, Gaza, South Sudan, the Ukraine and the Ebola outbreak– it’s fair to say that the typhoon has been sharing the world stage with other pressing issues”, Rosauer said.

“But the 8th of November is a time for the typhoon to be remembered. Filipino’s are always smiling and have a remarkably positive outlook. Behind the day-to day commitment of moving on, there are many heavy hearts.

After November 8 World Vision moves into the rehabilitation stage, the final phase of emergency response. Rosauer recognises the vital part that communities play in both decision-making and physical workmanship when building back so that they are not only empowered, but also have the skills to rebuild if any other future shocks occur. “We want to enable survivors to restore their dignity by continuing to be involved in their own recovery”, he says.

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