Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan

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  • More than 6,000 people have been confirmed killed and another 1,800 are missing after Haiyan tore across some of the country’s poorest islands, generating tsunami-like waves that left dozens of towns in ruins. About four million people have been left homeless and 16 million affected, according to the government.
  • The UN issued a report stating that the humanitarian situation in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is catastrophic.  A disaster of this magnitude calls for a massive response. The Government of the Philippines has mobilized relief operations under extremely challenging circumstances. The humanitarian community has declared the highest level of emergency response and the United Nations and humanitarian partners are mounting a major aid operation throughout the affected area.
  • A humanitarian response plan has been launched, seeking US $301 million for the United Nations and humanitarian partners to provide emergency food, shelter, clean water and sanitation and health services for six months. 22 countries have offered aid.
  • President Obama has asked Americans to reach into their wallets and to give. The White House set up a website for people to get information.

Sources for this Disaster Profile include: NHK World, BBC, OCHA, The Guardian UK, CNN and responding NGOs. We welcome your updates. Email

Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, made initial landfall in Eastern Samar, Philippines on November 8, 2013. The storm tracked across the Visayas region, bringing high winds, torrential rain and storm surge, ultimately impacting up to 16 million people. Unable to communicate due to loss of power and phones, it took days, even weeks, to reach certain parts of the country to assess the damages. Reports confirm that more than 6,000 people have died and as many as 1,800 are missing.

Following the storm, severe damages to properties and infrastructure were been reported. Electric posts and trees blocked roads; buildings and houses, especially those of light materials, were flattened.

Typhoon Haiyan roared onto Samar at 4:30 a.m., flooding streets and knocking out power and communications networks in many areas of the hilly island in the region of Eastern Visayas, and then continued its march, barreling into four other Philippine islands as it moved across the archipelago.

With sustained winds of 315 kph (195 mph) and gusts as strong as 380 kph (235 mph), Haiyan may be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in recorded history.

typhoon-haiyan-3The day prior to the storm making landfall, thousands of people evacuated villages in the central Philippines.  Authorities warned people in provinces across the country to prepare for possible flash floods, landslides and a storm surge as high as 7 meters (23 feet). About 125,000 people nationwide were moved to evacuation centers. However, many of those safe spaces were schools that could not sustain winds above 99 mph.

Among the most vulnerable were people living in tents on the central Philippine island of Bohol, where a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit last month, killing at least 222 people, injuring nearly 1,000 and displacing about 350,000, according to authorities. On Friday, Bohol got a second jolt — this time from the typhoon’s winds and rain, but they were spared a direct hit.

Overall, Philippines officials, who pride themselves on planning and preparation had no idea that the storm would reach such magnitude. And the high rising tides, which do not always accompany typhoons, revealed itself much like a tsunami.

A Season of Challenges

The Philippines is an island nation of 96 million people living  at the doorstep of climate change. Each year Filippinos face recurring natural disaster; enduring typhoons, severe drought, floods, and coastal erosion.

2013 brought with it back-to-back  events, with Tropical Depression Shanshan arriving in February impacting 80,000 families, many of whom were still recovering from the massive 2012 Typhoon Bopha. Subsequent tropical depressions, typhoons, and monsoons occurred with regularity, taking hundreds of lives and leaving tens of thousands without homes.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Bohol province Oct. 15, 2013 killed 222 people and injured 976. Eight people are still missing. Over 344,300 people were displaced with 80% living in makeshift shelters built in open spaces near their damaged houses. Just two weeks later, Typhoon Krosa made landfall Oct. 31, 2013  causing four deaths, damaging 32,000 homes and 6.3 million in crops.

Recovery Will be Long-Term

Two months after Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, shelter remains a pressing issue.There are still people in need of shelter in places such as Bantayan Island. Last week Tropical Depression moved through Guiyan, damaging or destroying 1,400 shelter tents. IDPs in Tacloban City will move from evacuation centres to bunkhouses by the end of this week. However, more work is required to prepare the sites.

Economic analysis of the Philippines shows that the typhoon is responsible for hampering economic growth. The disaster impacted more than 4 million livelihoods. Gross domestic product rose 6.5 percent from a year earlier, down from the 7.7 percent growth in the first half of the year, but still better than earlier estimates of between 4.1 to 6 percent.



  • Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, is estimated to have destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of structures in its path. The damage to the coconut- and rice-growing region was expected to amount to more than 3 billion pesos ($69 million).
  • 16 million people are affected by Typhoon Haiyan in nine regions across the Philippines, and close to a million of them displaced.
  • 22 countries, including the United States, have offered aid.
  • Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines Nov. 8, 2013.  There have been more than 6,000 confirmed deaths and 1,800 people are missing.
  • The Philippines is hit by an average of 19 typhoons a year. A tropical country made up of more than 7,100 volcanic islands, the Philippines is vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, and landslides.
  • A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol province in central Philippines on Oct. 15, 2013 killing 222 people, injuring 976 with 8 still missing. More than 344,300 people were displaced with 80% living in makeshift shelters built in open spaces near their damaged houses.

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Data provided by The Foundation Center, and self-reported by funders.

  • Accenture, $1 million, to Plan International.
  • Aramark Corporation, $50,000 to American Red Cross.
  • Bank of America, $250,000 to American Red Cross and Save the Children.
  • Carlson Family Foundation, $10,000 to American Red Cross and International Rescue Committee, $25,000.
  • Colette Foundation, $25,000 to Plan International.
  • EMC Corporation Contribution, $100,000 to Give2Asia.
  • Fast Retailing, $103,316 to UNICEF.
  • Health Net Foundation, $50,000, American Red Cross.
  • Horizon Charitable Foundation, $50,000 to various NGOs.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries, Inc., $200,000, to Korean Red Cross.
  • Island Insurance Foundation, $25,000 to the Filipino Community Center. The organizations is also partnering with the Consuelo Foundation in a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $2 million.
  • JCB Corporate Giving Program, $500,000 to Direct Relief.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s Corporate Giving Program, $100,000 to American Red Cross and $25,000 each to Doctors Without Borders, Mercy Corp, Relief International, and Team Rubicon.
  • Kohl’s Corporation Contributions Program, $50,000 to American Red Cross.
  • MasterCard Incorporated Corporate Giving Program, $100,000 to American Red Cross and $100,000 to World Food Programme.
  • Monsanto, $100,000 each to American Red Cross, Save The Children and International Rescue Committee. For long-term recovery Monsanto has provided $400,000 to help Filipino farmers access food and water and to rebuild and repair farmers’ homes. The company is also donating seeds to farmers. The company has 100 employees in the area and has worked there for decades.
  • The Moody’s Foundation, $50,000, to American Red Cross.
  • The Pfizer Foundation, $250,000  each to UNICEF and World Vision.
  • The Travelers Companies, Inc. Corporate Giving Program, $100,000 to American Red Cross.
  • Tyson Foods, Inc. Corporate Giving Program, $100,000 to World Food Programme.
  • United Health Foundation, $750,000 to Project Hope.
  • Xylem Watermark, $100,000, to Mercy Corp and Planet Water.
  • All HandsAll Hands launched Project Leyte. Following Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the super typhoon that tore through the southern Philippines in early November, they mobilized a response, focused on Ormoc City on the island of Leyte, and officially opened our doors on December 2, 2013. In just one month we have deployed 107 volunteers from 26 different countries thus far, focusing on the debris cleanup and deconstruction phases in Ormoc City and the surrounding barangays. Volunteers have donated 11,662 hours of labor and assisted 176 families in 28 barangays. They’ve logged countless hours deconstructing, clearing debris from and “safeing” homes (150), clearing trees (22), and working in schools (10), chapels (4), hospitals (2), and even a morgue (1).
  • The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) shipped a container of food, shelter, hygiene and medical supplies to the Philippines. The non-profit will also be providing “School in a Box” kits for temporary classrooms for displaced children through its ongoing partnership with UNICEF.
  • AmericaresAmeriCares is working nonstop to help meet the immediate health needs of families suffering in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Response to date includes more than $7.1 million in medical and humanitarian aid to partners working in the hardest hit areas:$6 million in emergency medical aid: medicines and medical supplies, antibiotics, bandages, nutritional supplements, blankets and other relief supplies; $250,000 in emergency funding: for project support, and to procure relief supplies and humanitarian aid for survivors in need.
  • Architecture for Humanity has been in close communication with local architects and its Manila Chapter, as well partners within its network to assess the situation. Once the immediate relief phase has ended, the organization will create plans for reconstruction  of resilient homes and buildings. It encourages immediate relief to aid organizations, and suggests that its own work needs funding now for appropriate assessment of the communities’ long-term needs.
  • CARE: After typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, communities face a new year determined to build back better and safer. The storm struck the central islands of the southeast Asian country November 8, affecting 14.1 million people, leaving 4.1 million displaced and more than 6,000 people dead. CARE is working with partners to deliver emergency relief in three areas of the Philippines: Leyte, Samar and Panay. Our target is to reach 200,000 people with lifesaving food, shelter, other assistance, and help communities recover in the months and years to come. So far, CARE has provided food to more than 88,000 people, and shelter materials (shelter kits and tarpaulins) and kitchen sets to more than 15,000 individuals.
  • ChildFund International completed rapid assessments, and its response will now focus on the hard-hit areas of Ormoc City, Tacloban City, Palo and Tolosa in Leyte, Bantayan Island in Northern Cebu and Roxas City in Capiz. Rapid assessments have taken place in the provinces of Aklan and Antique, but the assessment teams did not recommend response in these locations as conditions on the ground have normalized. ChildFund’s Relief and Recovery Fund for the Philippines will enable ChildFund to mobilize teams of specialists; supply food, safe water, blankets, shelter and other emergency aid to children and families as quickly as possible; repair and restore homes, schools and vital social infrastructure such as water, sanitation and hygiene systems to prevent disease; and provide Child-Centered Spaces and psychosocial support to help children cope and recover confidence after an emergency.
  • Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontièresis providing medical and humanitarian assistance on three islands that were battered by the typhoon. MSF supports hospitals in Tacloban and Burauen (on Leyte Island), Balasan (on Panay Island), and Guiuan (on Samar Island) with the aim of helping to restore normal medical services as quickly as possible. The support includes repairing damaged buildings; providing medical supplies, drugs and staff; and setting up an ambulance service.
  • Direct Relief sent its largest-ever shipment of emergency medicines and medical supplies in its 65-year history to Cebu to support partners on the ground who are providing medical care for people affected. The shipment, valued at $5 million, includes enough medicines to treat 250,000 people.The donations contain antibiotics, I.V. fluids, oral rehydration formula, wound care supplies, pain relievers, surgical instruments, nutritional supplements, hygiene kits, and chronic disease medicines. All of the medical aid was specifically requested by health officials and nongovernmental groups in the Philippines. These critically needed items will help treat and prevent many of the key health risks observed by Direct Relief’s emergency team on the ground, including: wounds and injuries, waterborne diseases, inadequate hygiene, communicable diseases spread by displacement and overcrowding (such as respiratory infections), malnutrition, and other health risks. This shipment is the most recent of 12 total emergency deliveries (valued at $9 million) from Direct Relief to the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan.
  • International Medical Corps: In partnership with the Philippine Department of Health and humanitarian partners on the ground, International Medical Corps provided medical services through 10 mobile medical units (MMUs) in some of the hardest-hit areas following Typhoon Haiyan. International Medical Corps is also conducting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) screenings; medical and mental health assessments in affected communities; and has begun nutrition screening and treatment referral for children. By working through MMUs, International Medical Corps has been able to provide critical health services on remote islands where families struggle to access medical care and basic resources. International Medical Corps is currently providing ongoing health services through MMUs in Roxas and the surrounding area, including Gabac, Ameligan and Lanoy. Near Capiz, MMU teams have also visited Ameligan, Cabugao, Sangkal, and Pandan, treating nearly 400 patients. In Leyte, International Medical Corps has one MMU operating in Tacloban at Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Hospital, and three other MMUs rotating between eight municipalities in the south, including Casmada, Tabon-Tabon, Mayorga, McArthur, Dagami, La Paz, and Dulag. In Cebu, MMUs are targeting evacuation centers, providing health care to the displaced and psychological first aid training to staff.
  • International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee is on the ground in the Philippines focusing on urgent water, sanitation, hygiene and health needs — along with programs that will put some money back into people’s pockets and help to revitalize the local economy. Reports from teams on the ground show that more food, water and medical supplies are reaching people, but people are now ready to rebuild their homes and find ways to get back to work.
  • Lutheran World Relief (LWRPhilippines was on the ground working with local partners to mobilize resources for those in need following Typhoon Haiyan.  It shared this video about it work. Initial emergency relief projects include distribution of shelter repair kits in northern Cebu Province’s Daanbantayan municipality, as well as provision of community water filtration units and needed non-food items.  LWR also plans to implement cash-for-work (CFW) activities focused on debris removal in areas of northern Cebu and western Leyte provinces. LWR’s CFW projects will help with the removal of storm debris from public spaces and give affected populations cash to purchase needed household items, injecting money into the local economy.  LWR also serves as the country Sphere focal point and convener of the Alliance of Sphere Advocates in the Philippines (ASAP). As a leader in Quality & Accountability (Q&A), LWR has been conducting Q&A trainings for other humanitarian actors responding to the emergency.
  • MedShare International is equipping  Medical Mission teams that are on the ground who are delivering medical care to the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. MedShare Medical Mission (MedTeam) Stores equip teams of health care professionals with low-cost, high-quality medical supplies. MedTeams have access to MedShare¹s online and in-person inventory of surplus medical supplies recovered from local hospitals. MedShare is also sending 40 ft containers of medical supplies to the areas hardest hit by the typhoon.
  • Mercy Corps: Immediately after Typhoon Haiyan, the team was in touch with Filipino wholesalers and vendors in less damaged areas of the country, including in and around Cebu City. It procured water, food packages, hygiene kits and blankets to bring to remote islands that had yet to be reached with critical assistance. Its warehouse in Cebu City is now stocked with cooking kits for families to maintain health and hygiene while preparing food even without working kitchens. Jerry cans, buckets, pots, kettles, plates and utensils will be distributed this week.
  • Oxfam was urgently trying to reach 500,000 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.To date it has: distributed 1,200 hygiene and water kits in Tacloban and Palo, reaching 6,000 people, and another 1,400 distributed in Tanauan; set up staging areas for water in Tacloban; delivered hygiene and water kits to 2,600 people on Bantayan Island; and commenced work in three areas of Cebu to clear debris.  Read its January 5th report.
  • Plan International: Plan Philippines is participating in all the major UN Cluster meetings, including: Food Security, Logistics, Security, Child Protection, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Nutrition, WASH, Shelter, and Communications. Its has raised over $18M of its $25M target, with remaining gaps particularly for the second phase of recovery which will focus on education, child protection, psychosocial support, and continuing disaster risk reduction. Plan received a first major shipment of supplies and has distributed 850 water cans and hygiene kits in East Samar. In Leyte province, Plan has reached 997 families with tarps, blankets and family tents in Tolosa and Jolita municipalities today. Food shortages are an urgent priority, and Plan is focusing on the children at risk of malnutrition, particularly those under 5. Plan is in the process of finalizing a food assistance program in partnership with World Food Programme. Plan is monitoring initial reports of suspected dengue and measles in Eastern Samar, particularly mindful that the vast majority of children in the hardest hit areas are not fully immunized against measles.  Currently, Plan is supporting basic maternal, newborn and child health/nutrition interventions at health facilities. Child Friendly Spaces are currently being established in Leyte, with 40 additional CFS kits in transport now for dispatch to Eastern Samar and Leyte.  Plan is working actively with the UN cluster on the identification, registration, and reunification of separated and unaccompanied children.  Plan also developed messaging for parents on providing psychosocial support for their children that has been adopted and disseminated by the relevant working groups and ministry. Plan has become part of the task team to finalize the government’s action plan for Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and their Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse training module has been requested to be shared as a resource. Initial assessments by the Education Cluster indicate that nearly 900 schools in three regions are being used as evacuation centers and a further 700 are damaged.  Plan staff deployed to support Education in Emergency (EiE) programming arrived in Manila today.
  • Project HOPE has airlifted $1 million worth of medicines and medical supplies, and raised $1.4 million in cash donations from corporate and foundation partners and individual donors in support of the Typhoon Haiyan relief effort. The group is  recruiting additional volunteer physicians and nurses to join the U.S. Navy in providing medical care to affected persons in the Philippines. For a complete list of volunteer opportunities in the Philippines, visit this link.
  • Save the Children: More than 1,500 Filipino children whose homes and communities were devastated in Typhoon Haiyan are enjoying Christmas parties hosted by Save the Children. In and around the devastated city of Tacloban, seasonal events have been held at 27 child friendly spaces. While in Estancia — a badly damaged municipality 300 miles away – parties with games like pass the parcel were also arranged for typhoon-affected children. More than six weeks after one of the fiercest storms ever recorded lashed the country, about 4.1 million people in the Philippines are still displaced. Some of these evacuated families are living in schools.
  • The Tzu Chi Foundation: Just days after the disaster, volunteers from the Buddhist faith organization Tzu Chi Foundation arrived in Tacloban to assess damages, bringing supplies and emergency medical care. As soon as the immediate safety of the disaster survivors had been ensured, the volunteers started planning for how to clean up the devastated area.  On November 20th, it launched a Cash-for-Work program in Tacloban, providing 500 pesos per day and person to clean debris from the disaster area. Starting from 620 participants in the first day, the program quickly grew and as of November 25, over 50,000 shifts have been accomplished, and the program employs over 15,000 participants per day. The effects are already visible. Through the hands of the cash-for-work participants and rented trucks and loaders, previously impassible roads are now free of debris. The cash injection has allowed local vendors to revive their business, kick-starting the local economy that was crippled by the disaster. The program is foreseen to continue until the whole city has been cleared of debris. The Tzu Chi Foundation is also providing material and medical relief in the city of Ormoc, providing aid packages with rice, blankets, clothing and other necessities, as well as emergency cash in the amounts of 8,000, 12,000 or 15,000 pesos depending on the number of household members. As of November 25, over 10,000 families have received material relief and over 1,500 patients have received medical services from the organization. (Updated 11/26)
  • UNICEF: The Back to Learning campaign for 500,000 children in typhoon-affected areas has been organized under the name balik eskwela (‘back to school’ in the Waray language) and is led by the Department of Education and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with the support of UNICEF and International and national NGOs and other local partners. A ‘soft opening’ of schools took place on December2  for schools that were ready to start informal classes. Since December, UNICEF has begun providing learning and recreational materials for 500,000 children, putting in place 3,000 temporary learning spaces, and water and sanitation facilities for 1,000 schools.
  • World Vision: World Vision’s WAYCS (Women and Young Children Space) locations in the Philippines are part of the organization’s long-term response to the devastation ofTyphoon Haiyan in November. The strategically-located spaces provide mothers and young children with a setting to spend time with each other and receive support from trained volunteer health workers. Each of the 13 locations offer assistance for breastfeeding mothers and nutritional monitoring for incoming children. World Vision also operates 34 Child-Friendly Spaces in the Philippines — places where disaster-affected children can play, learn, and talk about their experiences in a supportive environment.


  • Fund programs that support mental health. Counseling and other support services are needed and too few professionals are able to provide support.
  • Fund programs to meet immediate needs.With so many people displaced from the string of tropical depressions, typhoons and the earthquake, water, sanitation, and hygiene are tremendous concerns. With agriculture severely impacted, many families have serious food insecurity. The need for temporary shelter remains great.
  • Establish/strengthen the nation’s evacuation centers. As the world’s third most disaster-prone nation, the Philippines encounters numerous events each year.
  • Agriculture was severely damaged, and in many areas—such as banana plantations—it will take years to recover. Mitigation efforts as well as targeted investments will be needed to help improve livelihoods for years to come.
  • Fund environmental efforts to protect and improve coral reefs in coastal areas. The World Disaster Report 2012 reported that the Philippines could protect about a fifth of its population by improving protection of coral reefs. They are a primary line of defense against coastal hazards like typhoons.
  • Support programs that provide psychosocial assistance. In the initial days after 2012′s Typhoon Bopha, the United Nations reported that many adults were unable to assist in recovery efforts because of the shock of the event. Children were left unattended, crying and begging at the roadside.
  • Support mid-to long-term recovery: After immediate relief is handled, the people in the Philippines will need support for many years to come. Rebuilding homes, businesses and infrastructure is a long and arduous process. Consider donating to the CDP Haiyan Recovery Fund.

OCHA Situation Overview

The Washington Post: Writer Chico Harlan explains how the Philippines is one of the biggest resettlement crises in decades

Map of the devastation, New York Times

Before and After Photos, ABC News

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