Families begin to move forward after Typhoon Haiyan

Philippines, December 11, 2013

Share this story:
  • linkedin
  • google
  • 
  <span class="field-credit">
    Mark Ferdig/Mercy Corps  </span>
    As shelter materials become available, families are slowly returning to their homes to start the rebuilding process. Last week we distributed reconstruction kits and other essential items to 14 villages in the Philippines. The reconstruction kits contain items like hammers, nails and tarps for families to use as they construct new shelters. Photo: Mark Ferdig/Mercy Corps
  • 
  <span class="field-credit">
    Mark Ferdig/Mercy Corps  </span>
    People in Julita, in the eastern Philippines, gather to collect their reconstruction kits. We worked closely with them to determine what items would help them most with their recovery, learning that items they can use for the long-term were the most desired. Photo: Mark Ferdig/Mercy Corps
  • 
  <span class="field-credit">
    Mark Ferdig/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Most families in Julita make their living by farming. The items in the reconstruction kits — shovels, chisels and other tools — will be useful even after their homes are rebuilt. Photo: Mark Ferdig/Mercy Corps
  • 
  <span class="field-credit">
    Dewi Hanifah/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Families throughout the villages where we distributed supplies — many of whom had previously received very little assistance — were visibly grateful for our support. This man from Javier municipality holds up a handwritten message showing his appreciation — "salamat" means "thank you" in Filipino. Photo: Dewi Hanifah/Mercy Corps

One month after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines, displaced families are understandably eager to return home and begin rebuilding. There has been a shortage of building materials in the country, but as more shipments make their way to battered islands, survivors are setting out to repair damage or set up temporary shelters.

Even in more remote areas that receive little assistance, resourceful residents are salvaging what debris and timber they can.

It's communities like this, farther from main distribution channels, that we targeted to receive new recovery kits with construction supplies like hammers, shovels, nails and tarps.

"I discussed with the village leader and the community what they needed most," Emergency Program Manager Dewi Hanifah explained of the first visit to Julita. "They wanted supplies that they could use for the longer term. Because most people work as farmers, they can also use the tools in these kits for their work and lives in the future."

Julita is an inland municipality deep in the eastern Philippines. Its remote location — accessed by a long drive over muddy, storm-ravaged roads — has made it difficult for the government to provide the area with relief.

Additionally, we distributed hygiene and cooking supplies including essential items like soap and detergent, and cooking and eating utensils. Over 400 families in Julita also received emergency rice distributions — a total of five tons — as the need for food remains an urgent priority for those displaced by the storm.

In all, we reached 1,800 families in 14 villages in Leyte province that were most affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The supplies help meet their day-to-day needs and give them the opportunity to focus on long-term rebuilding.

"It was wonderful to see the families' faces when they received the reconstruction kits. They haven't received any other help like this, and they kept saying how much they needed it," Dewi said.

How you can help