One month one from typhoon Haiyan | Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan: One month one

Rebuilding lives in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

By Christine Kahmann

Dec 11 2013

One month after one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded hit the Philippines, millions of survivors who have lost their homes and livelihoods are trying to rebuild their lives.  Action Against Hunger’s teams continue to work around the clock to provide safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene and food to children and their families. So far, we’ve reached 650,000 people in need. As we respond to the most immediate needs for food and water, we’re also helping communities to rebuild their lives for the long-term: 

Water, sanitation and hygiene

In addition to providing emergency hygiene kits to displaced families, our water and sanitation experts are reconstructing water and sanitation systems in affected areas. Amador Gomez, one of our Technical Directors, explained that improving access to safe sanitation is a critical part of recovery. “It is important to move, even little by little, from provisional solutions to the urgent rehabilitation of water and sanitation structures,” he said. “We must ensure the quality of water in homes that are being rebuilt, with an emphasis on public health. Since the affected areas are still very fragile, epidemics of waterborne diseases remain a serious public health risk.”

Nutrition

Our teams are working hard to prevent malnutrition in hard-hit areas by providing emergency food rations to people in need, conducting malnutrition screenings for children under age five and promoting care practices for mothers and babies. Because the affected areas already had higher rates of malnutrition than the rest of the country before the typhoon hit, it’s important for us to monitor how this crisis has impacted the nutritional status of these already vulnerable communities.

Food security and livelihoods 

As we provide immediate assistance, we’re also planning for the rehabilitation phase. “We will continue to work with families and communities to restore lost livelihoods and design development plans for the long term,” said Julien Jacob, one of our heads of Food Security and Livelihoods. “We will provide seeds and tools for farmers, and boats and nets in coastal communities where fishing is an important source of income. We must also work with local markets and suppliers to build the capacity of economies in the affected areas.”

Disaster preparedness

While the Philippines is prepared to mitigate natural disasters, Typhoon Haiyan was unusually strong, and there’s a chance of another storm like it hitting again.  So our rehabilitation phase also includes plans for disaster risk management—strategies drawn from lessons we learned during this crisis to prevent another emergency like it from happening again. As Julien Jacob explained, “We always plan with a focus on disaster risk reduction, so that future natural disasters do not re-shatter the advances we’ve made.”
 
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Photo credits:  © ACF