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Three months after record-breaking Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, many of the country’s poorest families are struggling to recover.
Since the storm struck on November 8, Oxfam has reached almost 550,000 people with relief, including clean water for more than 200,000 people in the hard-hit city of Tacloban. There, Oxfam supported the government by repairing broken pipes and testing water quality. Oxfam has also provided people with hygiene kits, sanitation services, cash support, water kits, rice seed, shelter materials, kits for pregnant women, and hygiene education, and has cleared waste and debris.
But integral parts of the nation’s economy—farmers, traders and fishing communities—are struggling. For example, more than one million families living in typhoon-hit areas were part of the thriving coconut industry. The storm felled millions of coconut trees, decimating the source of income for those families and leaving them largely dependent on aid. Sixty percent of small-scale coconut farmers lived in poverty before the typhoon hit.
Compounding the challenges farmers face, the latest figures show zero funding has been allocated to the UN for coconut workers and fishing communities, while the Philippines government has been slow to deliver the agricultural and reconstruction support it has promised.
“What we need most is to recover our livelihoods—our source of income,” said Rose Felicio, who received a hygiene kit and mosquito nets from Oxfam. “We are roofless, homeless, but not helpless.”
Oxfam will continue to work with the Philippines government to make sure the recovery is focused on helping the poorest people while calling on the international community to provide the long-term funding families need to build a better future for themselves and their communities.