Friday, November 6, 2015

Philippine Red Cross after 2 years Rising from Haiyan

 Taken during the press conference for the 2nd Year Commemoration of Haiyan at Philippine Red Cross Tower. Boni Mandaluyong City. In the photo:Mr. Wolde Saugeron - Communications Coordinator, ICRC, Mr. Kari Isoma - Head of Country Delegation, IFRC, Sen. Richard Gordon - Chaiman of the Philippine Red Cross and Ms. Gwendolyn Pang - Secretary General of The Philippine Red Cross
Super typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to ever make landfall in world history, struck the country on November 8, 2013. Lets have a flashback 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.

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. 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. Line of communication was disrupted in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, with the help of PRC’s partner mobile network, satellite phones were provided.

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. 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.

Two years after Haiyan (local name Yolanda), the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has helped tens of thousands of affected families to get back their livelihoods, built safer, more disaster resilient homes and classrooms, and given people access to improved health and sanitation facilities and services.

As of end of October, 884,228 people have benefitted from PRC’s Haiyan Recovery Program which includes services ranging from shelter, livelihood, cash relief assistance, water and sanitation, hygiene promotion, and rehabilitation of classrooms.

PRC Chairman Richard Gordon
According to PRC Chairman Richard Gordon, “The success of our Haiyan operations would not have been possible without the support of our partners in the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement and private partners who have generously contributed to help alleviate the suffering of those whose lives have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Because of the massive destruction caused by Haiyan, there was also a massive outpouring of support that came to us that helped restore people’s lives and dignity."

Presently, PRC’s Haiyan Recovery program has built 66,011 homes out of the target 80,203 or 86 percent of the target number of houses to be built, amounting to around 2.2 billion pesos. The Red Cross Haiyan shelter program is spread across nine Haiyan-affected provinces: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, and Western Samar.  

During the emergency phase, the Red Cross was able to provide emergency cash relief assistance to 90,779 families, the biggest ever cash transfer programming operations in the RCRC Movement history after an emergency or disaster. A total of PhP 281,529,400 or USD 6,256,208 was disbursed to affected families in a matter of four months from December 2013 to March 2014. Unconditional cash relief given per family ranged from PhP2,000 to PhP5,000.

Provision of shelter was augmented with livelihood assistance in the form of livelihood cash grants that beneficiaries used to start a new livelihood source or restart their lost livelihood. As of date, 59,218 families out of the target 62,289 households or 95 percent of the target number of beneficiaries, have been provided with livelihood assistance through conditional cash grants. The total amount of livelihood assistance to date is P592,180,000.

PRC also focused on health, sanitation and education. Through the Haiyan recovery operations, there are now 32 schools with improved access to water and sanitation facilities and 38 health facilities that have been repaired and reconstructed, which will cater to 222,618 individuals based on the population of the area.  

The education sector was not left behind as the Red Cross also focused on restoring classrooms so students can go back to their classes. As of date, 410 classrooms have already been rehabilitated and reconstructed, of which 39,165 students have benefitted. There were also 5,083 students who have received school kits from the Red Cross.

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