10 December 2014
One month on from Typhoon Haiyan, more than 10 million Filipinos are working hard to rebuild their lives. ‘With a million homes damaged or destroyed and the livelihoods of 5 million people impacted, the scale of need is immense’, says Caritas director Julianne Hickey.
‘However, we’re enormously grateful for the generosity of New Zealanders to meet that need,’ she said. ‘Including $250,000 from the government’s New Zealand Aid Programme, New Zealanders have donated more than $1 million to Philippines relief through Caritas.’
Innovative donation appeals organised throughout the country have successfully raised thousands of dollars for the Caritas response. Auckland’s Rosmini College made $16,000 by adding a simple donation link to their website for alumni and families to make a donation. The Filipino embassy organised a street appeal and a concert and the Ambassador personally presented Caritas with $20,000 out of the $60,000 raised.
During the initial relief phase, funds will go to provide essential food, hygiene kits, shelter repairs and other essential household items for 55,000 families who have suffered the most severe impact of the Typhoon. The second phase will target rebuilding homes and livelihoods.
Mark Mitchell, an emergency response expert with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, is in the Philippines coordinating the global Caritas relief effort. He says one month on, the urgent needs of food, water, sanitation and shelter are still a priority.
‘It’s difficult to imagine the magnitude of the disaster here. The numbers of people affected become almost meaningless. Everyone has been affected to some degree. But when you look at individual faces, and you look through the tiredness, there is a resilience and hope that remains,’ says Mark.
‘It’s amazing to see how resilient people are. They are not waiting helplessly for the aid agencies to come and clear and build, they are just getting on with it themsleves. The aid agencies are assisting the communities to facilitate their own recovery,’ he says.
Mark says the Caritas response will build in early recovery as soon as immediate needs are addressed. ‘The Caritas Aoteroa New Zealand funds will also help provide boats, seeds and chickens to support people returning to their livelihoods as soon as possible. This way we are supporting longer term recovery to enable the Philippines to be more resilient to the natural disasters which regularly occur in the country.’