Responding to Typhoon Haiyan

typhoon haiyan Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest cyclone that has hit the Philippines. In fact, it is considered the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history.

Haiyan hit on November 8 and seven days after, the unofficial casualty count is feared to be more than 10,000 people. Arriving at an exact number is difficult due to power outages and damaged infrastructure. This is also why Compassion Philippines is still working to determine which of our beneficiaries have been affected and to what extent.

  • Donate now to help children and families affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
typhoon haiyan damage

When a disaster strikes, the first assistance sponsored children get is from the church partner connected to the child development center where they are registered. Our partners have been trained to develop their own disaster response protocols that are unique to their areas and needs. They have received instructions on risk assessment and response planning. Most churches have also established strong links with local government agencies and non-government organizations.

In August 2013, Metro Manila was hit by surprisingly strong southwest monsoon rains. Several of our church partners were flooded, but the churches were able to handle the situation without needing additional assistance. They tapped local agencies and used local resources to address the needs of the children.

Immediately after a disaster, church partner staff visit communities to see how sponsored children are doing and assess damages. Each child will be accounted for. In many cases, staff members themselves have been affected by the disaster as well. This is certainly the case in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

All student-center activities are suspended in affected areas.

Church partners will try to relay any type of information to the Compassion country office through their partnership facilitator (PF). It may be through email, phone call or text message. In many cases, texting is the only way to communicate until the batteries on cell phones run out.

typhoon haiyan family

Meanwhile, the country office organizes a disaster response team composed mainly of the country management team, Complementary Interventions (CIV) administrator, program supervisors and partnership facilitators, as well as volunteers. This is most needed in response to the most severe disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan and Typhoon Washi, which took the lives of several sponsored children in Cagayan de Oro in December 2011.

After Typhoon Washi, the disaster response team from the country office immediately traveled to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao to offer comfort, prayers and any form of assistance. The first on the scene was the PF assigned to the area. The team was able to deliver relief goods, tap local agencies that provided clean water, organize a medical team, lead a cleanup drive, and so on.

Today, the disaster response team for Typhoon Haiyan has begun packing relief items to be sent to church partners in Leyte, Samar and Cebu with the help of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who will be transporting the goods.

typhoon haiyan relief

While people are being mobilized, goods packed and children cared for, the CIV administrator gathers data as provided by PFs from our church partners. The CIV administrator writes a formal proposal for relief assistance. The initial proposal typically covers just the first phase of operations, addressing urgent and immediate needs of the worst-hit sponsored children and church partners.

Meanwhile, affected church partners may use project funds to cover any expenses in response to the crisis.

The CIV administrator also receives and gathers disaster communication reports submitted by church partners through their PFs. These reports include updates on the children affected and the extent to which they are affected.

typhoon haiyan destroyed house

Next comes a proposal for the second phase of assistance. The second phase takes longer to implement and complete, and addresses rebuilding, recovery and rehabilitation — which may include livelihood assistance, property restoration and reconstruction of facilities. In 2006, after the fury of Typhoon Durian, the rehabilitation process took more than five years to complete.

  • Donate now to help children and families affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

4 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Wilma O. Arriola December 5, 2013

    our hearfelt gratitude for the coming of the Compassion Services International team to our place, Maya, Daanbantayan, Cebu, (Fishers of Men , UPC church in Maya) and had medical mission and giving of relief goods .

  2. Vicki Small November 18, 2013

    I never cease to be amazed by the level of planning, organization and implementation by Compassion, in disaster relief efforts! The quick action in Haiti, after the earthquake, and now in the Philippines, make so clear both the necessity and the value of the church-based aspect of Compassion’s ministry to those in poverty, and its focus on the children. What better way to show Christ’s love to whole communities!

  3. Danielle November 17, 2013

    We support a little girl, Roselyn, in the Philippines. My husband is currently part of the relief efforts, he is a one of the many helo pilots in the U.S. military delivering supplies etc. to affected cities. I am glad to hear that the churches are doing alright, and have disaster plans in place. We have been praying for Roselyn & the situation there, it is dangerous for everyone!

  4. Becky November 15, 2013

    Thank you for this detailed posting about the current relief efforts in the Philippines! I continue to pray for all of those impacted and those involved with the relief efforts. I am pleased to hear that through the training provided by CI, that the church partners are able to respond more effectively in a disaster by already having a plan in place. They are quite a bit more advanced than many people in the USA who lack family plans for disasters despite living in areas where certain disasters are common.

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