Typhoon Haiyan Anniversary Highlights Need for Disaster Preparedness: IOM
Philippines - On 8th November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Visayas region of the Central Philippines, killing over 6,300 people and leaving four million homeless. Over a million houses were destroyed by the strongest recorded storm in history and the damage ran into billions of dollars. A year later, IOM is highlighting the need for better preparedness and response systems to avert future tragedies in the Philippines and elsewhere.
IOM had staff on the ground within 48 hours of Haiyan making landfall. In the days and months that followed, the agency took a lead in tracking displacement, building up a reliable and real-time picture of the most urgent challenges, and responding to the most acute shelter, protection and health-related needs.
During the first six months, IOM teams distributed over 97,000 non-food items including blankets, buckets and solar lamps and 63,000 emergency shelter kits comprising tarpaulins, ropes, nails and hammers. Over 100,000 individuals received medical help and communication teams are still working with communities to provide thousands of affected families with practical advice and a channel to air their concerns.
IOM is now focusing on the large scale recovery phase and has distributed more than 30,000 recovery shelter kits (a package including coco lumber, metal roofing, and other construction materials), training in safer shelter construction, cash grants and construction monitoring. All of this is designed to help affected families to improve and rebuild their damaged homes.
The massive recovery project includes the construction of transitional shelters designed to last for a minimum of two years, until durable housing solutions are identified. Almost 1,500 such shelters have been built and additional 400 are under construction. The multi-agency effort is ensuring that the transitional sites offer access to water, sanitation and protection services, as well as shelter.
To help rebuild the region’s shattered infrastructure and to promote economic recovery, IOM’s shelter programme is helping local farmers to process and mill fallen coconut trees. IOM uses this local coco lumber from fallen or damaged coconut trees in its shelters, providing a source of cash for affected farming families, and speeding up debris removal.