Typhoon Haiyan: Two Years Later Samaritan's Purse teams are helping Philippines residents rebuild and renew their lives
The Vicious Storm
On November 8, 2013, at 4:40 am, Typhoon Haiyan made its first of six landfalls over Samar island in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines, with a relentless force of destruction as one of the largest, most powerful Pacific hurricanes on record.
The vicious storm battered Samar and Leyte islands. Residents along the coast hunkered down wherever they could find shelter from the fierce winds and rains. When the eye reached land, it offered a brief façade of calm. Those in the storm's path assumed the worst was over. Momentarily, it was.
The rains and winds picked up with vengeance, stronger and more intense than before at 195 miles per hour and gusts up to 235 mph. A storm surge of water, estimated to be 20-feet high, roared into Tacloban City, destroying everything in its path. By 10 am, Tacloban was in ruins. Over 6,000 people were reported dead, more than four million were displaced, and damages were estimated to be near $850 million.
Samaritan’s Purse mobilized to respond in the immediate aftermath of the storm, helping victims with emergency food, water, shelter, and medical needs. Over the next weeks and months, we continued to work in hard-hit areas by providing clean water, shelter and latrine kits, nutrition programs, promoting hygiene and sanitation, and working with local churches to share the hope of Jesus Christ.
Working Together Toward Restoration
Two years later, we are still working to improve the quality of life for thousands in the Philippines. More people are gaining access to improved sanitation, mothers with children at risk of malnutrition are learning how to better care for them, families are recovering their livelihoods through entrepreneurship opportunities, and churches are being trained and equipped to better share the Gospel and make disciples.
Our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program is providing clean drinking water, improved sanitation, and daily hygiene support for 10,000 families living in government housing. These men, women, and children lost their homes in Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, and are still displaced. We are working with schools to help increase children's access to clean water and sanitation. Our team has also worked with people living in temporary shelters to make sure they have a functional latrine.
The Nutrition Program has actively screened thousands of children under five years old, as well as pregnant and lactating women, for malnourishment. Mothers are provided with infant and young child feeding counseling and micronutrient powders. Ready-to-use supplementary and therapeutic food is distributed to those with acute malnutrition.
The program also creates support groups for women of reproductive age. Currently, almost 4,000 women from these groups have been trained to promote maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition within their communities.
The Livelihoods Program is helping rural communities battle poverty. We are working to rebuild livelihoods for farmers, internally displaced people, and families through bamboo plantations, bamboo handicraft production, and business management training for entrepreneurs. The growth and production of bamboo will increase household incomes. Trainings based on Biblical principles will teach good stewardship of resources, promote family values, and transform communities through the Gospel.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, our Construction Program identified 11 health facilities in hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities that sustained major damage. Construction has been completed on all of the facilities to ensure that more than 20,000 people continue to have access to medical care.
In June 2015, Samaritan’s Purse celebrated the opening of the rehabilitated Cutay Elementary school in the Santa Fe Municipality, which was in severe disrepair after the storm. The new classroom signifies a return to normal schooling and provides a safe learning environment for students and teachers.
Our Ministry Program works to incorporate the Gospel into each of our projects and meet the needs of churches.
After the storm, more than half of all evangelical church buildings in the greater Tacloban area were damaged or destroyed. Our team has helped to rebuild their capacity by providing trainings and supplies to equip them to reach out to Haiyan-affected communities.
The Ministry Program also offers spiritual care to families, provides support in bunkhouses and transitional housing sites, and leads Bible studies in nearly 50 communities. More than 35,000 Bibles have been distributed.
We are grateful for how God continues to use our work in the Philippines to bring healing and restoration to tens of thousands of people. Many of our staff who witnessed God's faithfulness after Typhoon Haiyan have been able to encourage other disaster survivors around the world. In 2015, we deployed Philippines staff to our relief efforts for Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, the catastrophic earthquake in Nepal, and flooding in Myanmar.
Looking ahead, we are excited about the future of Samaritan's Purse Philippines. By establishing our country office in Manila, with plans to expand to strategic locations in 2016, we can start new projects and be better positioned to respond to disasters both in the country and the region.
Stay connected by following @SPPhilippines on Twitter.
Philippines ProjectsSamaritan's Purse is working to improve the quality of life for thousands in the Philippines by providing clean water, hygiene education, and provision of latrines. We are conducting nutrition monitoring for infants and young children and training parents on better feeding practices. Our teams are also helping families recover their livelihoods through bamboo plantations and business training. We partner with the local church, supplying Bibles and offering discipleship courses to help them reach their communities with spiritual care and support.
Samaritan’s Purse is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. All contributions designated for specific projects shall be applied to those projects, and we may assess up to 10 percent to be used for administering the gift. Occasionally, we receive more contributions for a given project than can be wisely applied to that project. When that happens, we use these funds to meet a similar pressing need.
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