Two years had passed after the super typhoon Haiyan struck the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) continue its drive to support the victims.
Rising from Haiyan: the Philippine Red Cross experience
As early as November 6, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chapters were advised by its chairman Richard Gordon to take immediate precautionary measures, and mobilize units for the consolidation of supplies, vehicles, equipment, and manpower. On November 7, Chairman Gordon sent a text blast to all PRC chapters to activate response units in the respective areas, which were previously identified.
During this time, the PRC leadership also called for an emergency meeting with Movement Partners (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Australian RC, Spanish RC, German RC, The Netherland RC, Finish RC). Together, they discussed the plans on how to address the immediate needs and life-saving measures to the vulnerable population affected by typhoon Haiyan.
Haiyan made landfall on November 8, and in less than 48 hours, PRC was on the grounds removing debris to open up main roads (more than 10,000 cubic meters of debris were collected), dispensing 68,702 hot meals and food supplies to hungry survivors, and attending to the medical needs of every citizen. While other agencies were still organizing plans and mobilizing their units, PRC was already delivering crucial services to the people.
On November 11, the PRC organized an additional humanitarian convoy that brought relief supplies (food and non-food), rescue equipment, transport vehicles, ambulances, pay loaders, and water tankers. Part of the convoy were trained and skilled personnel of the PRC and Red Cross 143 volunteers, tasked to assist and provide immediate and life-saving support to the disaster affected population in Central Philippines.
In addition to food and water, one of the essential items that were distributed during the relief operation was the emergency shelter repair kit that helped 51,185 families to start the repair and construction of their damaged homes.
Since line of communication was disrupted in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, the PRC deployed its communication kit, helping survivors get in touch with their families. With the help of PRC’s partner mobile network, satellite phones were provided and the PRC was able to reconnect 35,230 families.
While the PRC units were busy on the ground, Chairman Gordon was also coordinating help with foreign partners, and ensuring that their donations were brought to the affected areas safely and as swiftly as possible.
During the emergency phase of the operation, around 230,000 families were supported with essential household items (blankets, mosquito nets, plastic mats, water containers, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and tarpaulins) – making it as the biggest operation in the history of the Philippine Red Cross.
Red Cross’ housing project for Yolanda survivors nearing completion
More than 66,000 families now have safer, more disaster resilient homes in typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) affected areas, as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has already completed 86 percent of its target number of homes to be built in its shelter project under its typhoon Haiyan recovery program.
As of date, a total of 66,011 families were provided shelter out of the target 80,203, which is targeted to be completed until the end of 2016. This is the largest ever shelter assistance that the Red Cross has provided in any post-disaster operations locally and globally, in terms of number of houses built and amount of shelter assistance provided.
“What we are doing is not just building shelter for the families affected. More importantly, we are giving them back their dignity, which is why families are involved from the beginning in the process of building their homes,” said Richard Gordon, chairman and CEO of the PRC.
In building shelter, the PRC involves the community in all aspects of the building process. The beneficiaries themselves were part of the consultations regarding designs and plans for the shelters that the Red Cross and its partners were to build for them. Beneficiaries are even involved in the actual building of the houses.
Houses built trough the PRC housing project were built employing the “build back better” principle for disaster resilience and have been proven to withstand some of the strongest typhoons that came after Yolanda.
The shelter project covers the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, and Western Samar; as well as the cities of Bogo, Ormoc and Tacloban.
“Providing shelter for families affected by Yolanda would not be possible without the support of our partners, private companies who supported our shelter program, and our partners in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement,” said Gordon.
The housing project is supported by PRC’s partners in the International Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement, composed of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and several National Societies.
RCRC National Societies involved in the Haiyan housing project include Finnish Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross, German Red Cross, Hong Kong Red Cross, Taiwan Red Cross, French Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, British Red Cross, American Red Cross, Australian Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross, Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) or Indonesian Red Cross, Qatar Red Crescent Society, Swiss Red Cross, and Bahrain Red Crescent.
PRC’s private partners that have contributed to the housing project include Air Asia, HSBC, CUBE, Citibank, and AusAID.