Philippines Typhoon Haiyan

Mother and child walking in Eastern Samar, the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Photo: Jire Carreon/Oxfam

Help save lives

As Filipinos work to recover from the wreckage left by record-breaking Typhoon Haiyan, Oxfam has helped hundreds of thousands of survivors. Ensuring access to clean water and sanitation services are among our top priorities, along with supporting people in meeting other basic needs, including replanting for the next harvest.

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Surviving Typhoon Rammasun in the Philippines

Nearly 20 typhoons and storms strike the Philippines each year, and climate change is upping the ante. Communities that lie in harm’s way are trying hard to meet the challenge.

How we're responding

Updated July 2014

When Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines in November 2013, more than 8,000 people died and more than 4,000,000 were forced from their homes. With the loss of houses and the crops, boats, and coconut trees their families depended on for incomes, millions already living in poverty face new financial hardships.

Oxfam has now reached more than 730,000 people with assistance. 

Water and sanitation

In the devastated city of Tacloban, we worked with partners and local authorities to restore supplies of clean water to 200,000 people within days of the storm. The work involved repairing and reconnecting pipes, supplying a generator and fuel, installing new distribution points, and helping monitor water quality. In places we couldn’t reach people with piped water, Oxfam and partners also provided water-purification materials, and tanks for storing and distributing water delivered by truck.

Living in crowded shelters and tent camps poses public health challenges. Oxfam has worked with partners and community members to install and maintain latrines, promote safe hygiene practices, distribute hygiene materials and mosquito nets, and drain areas of standing water that could otherwise become mosquito breeding grounds.


Food has been another key priority from the start. Through cash programming, Oxfam and partners have helped more than 213,000 people feed their families and buy essentials, sometimes in exchange for accomplishing critical community tasks like building latrines and removing wreckage left behind by the storm and floods.

Restoring incomes

Fishing and farming families who lived in the path of the typhoon lost boats, nets, seeds, and tools—the essentials they needed to produce food and earn a living—and agricultural land was badly affected by the storm. Oxfam is working with fishing communities to restore boats and nets; we have so far helped more than 1,200 fishing families repair their boats and register for insurance.  

We have helped around 700 families restart their seaweed farming businesses, and—through training and advocacy—are working to make this line of work more profitable.

We also provided rice seeds to 7,700 farmers while supporting work crews to clear agricultural land and remove debris from irrigation channels.

Millions of coconut trees were uprooted in the typhoon. Oxfam equipped farmer cooperatives with chain saws and sawmills so they could clear their fields and earn incomes while contributing lumber to the rebuilding effort. Meanwhile, we have advocated for fair policies for farmers as they negotiate with landowners over how to share costs and profits related to the recovery.

Responding to the needs of women

Women and girls often face particular challenges in emergencies. From the outset of this disaster, we prioritized the needs of pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers by, for example, distributing special hygiene kits to mothers of newborns. As we constructed sanitation facilities, we ensured that women and men had separate toilets and washing areas, and that there were appropriate spaces for washing clothes and bathing children.

Women have also been central to our ongoing advocacy efforts. We have called for recognition of the property rights of women, and of the important role they play in the fishing and coconut farming industries—with the goal of ensuring that women are included in government registries and data, that they have access to government services, and that they have a strong voice in plans for the recovery.

Long-term recovery

In the weeks and months ahead, Oxfam is undertaking longer-term efforts to help hard-hit families restore their sources of income, and we will work with the government to ensure that the typhoon-recovery effort is focused on helping the poorest survivors take steps out of poverty. 

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