PHILIPPINES: Salesians Continue Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Efforts in Wake of Super Typhoon
(MissionNewswire) On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. This super typhoon was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded and the deadliest typhoon on record in the Philippines killing more than 6,200 people in that country alone.
According to the United Nations, in addition to killing thousands of people, the super typhoon affected more than 13 million overall. An estimated one million homes were destroyed and 4 million were left homeless. Among those who had been displaced, close to 2.5 million were in need of food assistance. More than 5 million of those affected were children, leaving 1.5 million children at risk of acute malnutrition, according to the UN World Food Program.
Salesian missionaries in the Philippines who have been working with vulnerable children and their families at Salesian schools, youth centers and community programs for many years, were positioned to be on the front lines of the relief efforts. Salesian buildings in Cebu were named Official Help Centers and students, teachers, staff and volunteers worked alongside missionaries to collect, prepare and pack relief goods. In cooperation with the National Crisis Management Unit in the Philippines, 25,000 emergency kits were distributed in the days immediately following the storm.
Salesians in the country were also able to assist with the logistics of relief efforts which was identified by many aid experts as the greatest challenge. With experience working with the military to safely receive and transport relief supplies to those in need, Salesians in the Philippines provided crucial disaster relief support and coordination in the days and months following the storm.
“Because we have been working in the Philippines since 1950 and already have an established network in the affected areas, we are able to provide vital coordination and infrastructure support,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Our work does not stop in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Salesian relief efforts continue for those in need and now reconstruction efforts are underway to rebuild communities.”
Today, eight months after the typhoon, Salesian rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts continue in the Philippines long after many other humanitarian organizations have left the country. The Salesian-run Haiyan Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project continues to deliver relief such as food, clothing, blankets, kitchen items and carpentry and agriculture tools as well as five gallon containers of fresh drinking water to many areas, especially remote areas hard hit by the storm.
Reconstruction of homes, schools and shelters has also continued. To date, Salesian organizations have delivered enough construction materials to aid more than 2,300 families in the rebuilding of their homes. More than 700 additional families will be receiving assistance with finding transitional homes and 50 out of 360 planned houses have already been constructed.
Salesians in the Philippines are also helping with the rebuilding efforts of residential and duplex storm shelters (often known as comfort rooms). Forty-six of 50 residential shelters have already been completed as well as 23 of the duplex storm shelters.
As many lost their livelihoods in the wake of the storm, Salesians are working to develop a plan to retrain those in need. Development of a proposal for a wood accessory and beads processing shop is underway and other projects focused on mechanized farming, plant nurseries and livestock dispersal are being studied for viability. In the meantime, Salesians have provided tools for 235 families and Don Bosco-Liloan in Cebu is spearheading a project to help improve the livelihoods of fisherman in the municipality of Madredijos on Bantayan Island.
Because the Philippines is prone to natural disasters, Salesians in the region are training their own staff in emergency response protocol before the next storm. Don Bosco Network members are documenting emergency response coordination in the first 48 hours after an emergency occurs as well as drawing up standard protocol for handling emergencies. These documents outline a basic strategy for Salesians providing professional assistance in case of emergency anywhere in the world.
Salesian Missions – Salesian Missions Supports Programs to Help 200,000 Families Affected by Typhoon
UN World Food Program – Philippines: Children In Typhoon-Hit Areas Get Nutritional Support