Red Cross is assisting hundreds of thousands of people, who are recovering and rebuilding their lives after Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful on record, caused widespread destruction across central Philippines.
read more about the Red Cross response
Relief supplies, including food continue to be distributed in many devastated towns and villages.
Relief supplies, including food continue to be distributed in many devastated towns and villages. Philippine Red Cross has ensured that more than 1.1 million people most in need have received food and water supplies. More than 215,000 people have received health and hygiene support, including access to toilets. Other vital supplies like water containers, blankets and mosquito nets have been distributed to hundreds of thousands of people.
In early November, damaging winds with speeds of more than 300 km/h, flash flooding, storm surges and landslides left millions of people without food, clean water or permanent shelter. Thousands of people died in the Philippines. It is estimated that more than 16 million people were affected by the typhoon, with more than 1.1 million houses damaged or destroyed. Over four million people - the population of Melbourne - remain displaced.
More than 6200 Red Cross staff and volunteers have been assisting in the disaster-affected communities. They have been helping hundreds of thousands of people affected by the disaster with personal support, checking to make sure they are coping and supporting people to re-establish their homes.
Generous donations send aid workers and water equipment to the Philippines
Specialist Red Cross aid workers, from across the world, are working in the Philippines, assisting Philippine Red Cross with the response and ongoing recovery work. The aid workers are working with communities to provide assistance, in the areas of health, shelter, food, water and sanitation.
Thanks to the generous donations to the Typhoon Haiyan Appeal, 16 Australian Red Cross aid workers are still in the Philippines providing essential health and medical care, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, emergency shelter and food supplies. Aid workers have also been linking family and friends with their loved ones to assist communities as they recover from the disaster.
Australian Red Cross also sent a portable water treatment unit called 'the Nomad' to the Philippines to assist communities, whose water supplies were badly damaged by the Typhoon along the coast of Samar. Red Cross specialist aid workers in the Philippines are able to set up the Nomad and have it working in about 30 minutes.
The Nomad is a water treatment unit that provides clean drinking water for around 5000 people. In the very initial stages of an emergency it can provide clean water for up to 15,000 people a day. The unit is an easily transportable small machine that can be carried by boat or hand to difficult to access areas. It means Red Cross is providing an immediate clean water source for people while working on repairing systems, damaged wells and restoring pre-typhoon water supplies.
The typhoon has intensified the emergency for thousands of people who were left homeless by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the central Philippines in October. When the super typhoon hit 8 November, around 270,000 people on the central island of Bohol were still living in makeshift shelters or under tarpaulins after their homes had been destroyed by the earthquake.
In addition to specialist aid workers, 18 Australian Volunteers for International Development have been working with Philippine Red Cross and government agencies for several months to help prepare for disasters like Typhoon Haiyan.
Getting children back to school
Children are going back to school in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines with the assistance of Red Cross. The typhoon damaged or destroyed more than 3200 schools across the region, leaving teachers and students without classrooms or school supplies. Temporary classrooms have been built by Red Cross for more than 8500 students.
In recent weeks, the mathematics teacher at Palo National High School, Doris Salazar, has been teaching out of a temporary classroom made from timber and flimsy plywood. The original school was badly damaged during the storm. The whole roof was torn off.
"When it rains the students have to wear rubber boots to class because of the mud and I have to use my umbrella when I write on the blackboard," Doris says. "Students were keen to return to school as it takes their minds off what they have experienced during the typhoon. But it's been a real struggle. We have had to combine classes and run lessons on alternate days as we don't have enough classrooms."
One of the senior high school students, 16-year-old Maryjoy Mina, is really looking forward to her lessons getting back to normal. Maryjoy says it is great to have a new classroom built by Red Cross. She is one of many senior students who work on weekends to help their families pay for food and other household supplies.
Maryjoy says that she and her friends are looking forward to graduating this year. "We're glad about the new classrooms because they're more comfortable," she says. "It can get very hot here in the open air classrooms and they leak when it rains. We also lost our supplies. Now, if someone has a notebook, we tear off pages so that everyone can have paper."
Cash boost for communities
The cash transfer program gives families the opportunity to meet their most important needs.
Isolated mountain communities on Panay Island are receiving a cash boost to support the redevelopment of vital coconut and rice crops crucial to their livelihoods. Typhoon Haiyan toppled thousands of coconut trees and destroyed paddy fields across central Philippines, leaving at least 10,000 families in Panay without the income from farming on which they depend.
Red Cross is running a cash transfer program for the households that need it most across many areas in the central provinces of the Philippines.
Joy Singhal, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies cash team, says: "In the mountainous areas of Panay, the impact on agriculture was hard. The local economy of these areas depends on coconuts and rice."
Small scale farmers make up an estimated 90 per cent of the rural population in typhoon affected areas, who require support.
"The rice sowing season is now," Joy said. "If farmers can't get the seeds, they will miss the harvest in April and that will have a devastating impact on livelihoods. Cash transfers are a vital part of the recovery process - they give families the independence to buy what they need most."
Each household is receiving 2000 Philippine pesos - the equivalent of about A$50. The cash is supplemented with essential aid supplies. Hygiene kits, water containers, mosquito nets, tool kits, and tarpaulins are also provided for families whose homes have been destroyed.
The cash scheme in Panay is being replicated in the cities of Iloilo, Tacloban, Ormoc and surrounding areas, targeting around 250,000 people affected by the devastating typhoon.
Looking for family and friends
People concerned for the welfare of family and friends in the region should first attempt to contact them directly. If that is unsuccessful they should check the official ICRC website, which lists names of missing persons as well as persons who have reported that they are alive and also allows people to register names of family/friends who are still missing.
If further assistance is needed and the person overseas is an Australian citizen they should then call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 (for enquirers in Australia) or +612 6261 3305 (for enquirers overseas).
Philippine Nationals can also contact the Philippines Embassy or +612 6273 2535 or +612 6273 2536. If further assistance is still required, people can contact Red Cross to open a tracing enquiry.
Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in volunteering overseas. Australian Red Cross does not send new volunteers overseas in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. We are instead supporting Philippine Red Cross through our appeal.
However, we are seeking qualified disaster management experts who can help communities in the Philippines to prepare for future disasters. These volunteer assignments will commence early next year.
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Red Cross understands people may have a strong desire to donate items. While this generosity is appreciated, we do not have the capacity, nor are we set up to collect, store or distribute donated goods.
We are focusing our efforts on providing emergency relief, rehabilitation and recovery assistance to communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan (including the Philippines and Vietnam); supporting water and sanitation, shelter and health initiatives in affected areas; sending specialist aid workers to assist in initial assessments, relief, recovery and longer term disaster management operations; and supporting Red Cross longer term programs and the work of our Red Cross Red Crescent partners in the affected areas.
Our experience with emergency recovery has also shown that affected communities recover sooner when they can make their own choices. This includes choosing and purchasing goods to help put their lives back together again rather than being given goods. Another benefit of allowing those affected to choose their own purchases is that money is being put back into the community to stimulate local businesses. This is an important part of the local economic recovery.
Red Cross resources for you and your family
If recent events in the Philippines have caused distress for you or your family, Australian Red Cross has a range of resources that may help you at this time.
See the complete collection »
Information for supporting children and young people
Helping children and young people cope with crisis
How to talk to children about emergencies
fact sheet | audio | large print
After the emergency
A website for young people
Information on recovering from disasters like Typhoon Haiyan
Coping with a major personal crisis
audio | booklet | easy English | large print
It is normal to be upset and feel distressed by images showing the devastation that people are facing. Talking about it with family and friends may help.
About the appeal
The Typhoon Haiyan Appeal is now closed. Any outstanding community fundraising monies must be sent to Red Cross or pledged donations advised by Monday 10th March 2014.
Funds raised through this appeal will be used to:
- provide emergency relief, rehabilitation and recovery assistance to communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan (including the Philippines and Vietnam)
- support water and sanitation, shelter and health initiatives in affected areas
- send specialist aid workers to assist in initial assessments, relief, recovery and longer term disaster management operations
- support Red Cross longer term programs and the work of our Red Cross Red Crescent partners in the affected areas.
Australian Red Cross will not deduct more than 10% of any donation to the Typhoon Haiyan Appeal to cover appeal costs. Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate needs of the people in the affected areas, Australian Red Cross will direct the excess funds to other emergency preparedness and/or program initiatives in the Asia Pacific region.
Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.
Video: Our people in the Philippines say thank you.
Photos: People of all ages are being assisted by Red Cross to cope, with relief supplies, including materials to repair homes, following the biggest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines. Credit: IFRC