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 its top priorities, along with supporting people in meeting other basic needs, including replanting for the next harvest.Donate now
Philippines Typhoon Haiyan
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How we're responding
When Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines, more than 6,000 people died and more than 4,000,000 were forced from their homes. Now, with the loss of houses and the crops, boats, and coconut trees their families depended on for incomes, millions have been pushed deeper into poverty.
Over the past three months, Oxfam has reached more than 540,000 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 have 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 and shelter
Food has been another key priority from the start. Oxfam and partners have helped more than 50,000 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.
To help meet the urgent need for emergency shelter after the typhoon, we have distributed more than 6,500 tarpaulins and shelter-repair kits.
Fishing and farming families who lived in the path of the typhoon have lost boats, nets, seeds, and tools—the essentials they need to produce food and earn a living—and agricultural land has been badly affected by the storm. Oxfam is working with fishing communities to rebuild boats and repair nets, aiming to support 2,000 fishing families. We have also provided rice seeds to nearly 6,000 farmers while supporting work crews to clear agricultural land and irrigation channels of debris. Millions of coconut trees were uprooted in the typhoon. Oxfam is equipping farmer cooperatives with chain saws and sawmills so they can clear their fields and earn incomes while contributing lumber to the rebuilding effort.
Responding to the needs of women
Women and girls often face particular challenges in emergencies. We have prioritized the needs of pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers by, for example, distributing special hygiene kits to mothers of newborns, and as we construct sanitation facilities, we are ensuring that women and men have separate toilets and washing areas, and that there are appropriate spaces for washing clothes and bathing children.
Calling for change
Advocacy is an important facet of our work in this emergency. We are calling on authorities to improve conditions for people who are moving into temporary housing—advocating for improvements in access to water and sanitation, the amount of space allotted to each family, and the amount of light and privacy provided for the security of women and girls. We are also pressing authorities to help those who lost important documents in the storm and are now unable to access health care or claim government loans.
In the weeks and months ahead, Oxfam will undertake a longer-term effort 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.