The largest typhoon to ever make landfall slammed into the Philippines killing people, crushing homes, wreaking havoc on agricultural land, and destroying lives.
The numbers for Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda), as outlined by the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, are astounding:
16 million people were affected by the storm in the Philippines;
6,155 deaths are associated with the storm;
4.1 million people are displaced;
1.1 million homes are damaged or destroyed; and
8.2 billion requested by the Government of the Philippines (GFP).
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy launched the CDP Typhoon Haiyan Recovery Fund immediately following the storm surge, emphasizing funding medium- and long-term funding. We have raised more than $300,000 to date. The Fund has the stated purpose of supporting vulnerable populations; filling in gaps where public resources are unavailable or scarce; fostering collaborative relationships among donors; and promoting cross-sector collaboration. We are eager to allocate these funds effectively – in a manner that honors the lives lost and embraces the Filipino culture of resilience. With slightly over $300,000 in our Fund, we know that we are not the largest Haiyan funder (bi-lateral donors are supporting the recovery effort with hundreds of millions of dollars each), but small dollars can bring about powerful change.
Thinking through long-term needs
We know from numerous reports, including this one written by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, that donations are typically allocated within the first three months – primarily for relief purposes. Our goal at CDP is to make sure that more dollars are allocated for the long haul of recovery – we aren’t in a rush – we are taking our time to think long-term – to consider families’ and communities’ needs that will endure into the next typhoon season.
The challenge is that there are so many needs…. replacing school buildings, rebuilding livelihoods for fishermen and farmers, building new homes, and creating resilient communities. The needs are overwhelming and sadly we can’t address them all. So how will we go about making those granting making decisions? First we will convene an Advisory Committee – just as we did with our CDP Hurricane Sandy Disaster Fund. The Advisory Committee serves as the strategic eyes and ears for how the fund might make the most impact.
Next, we will conduct a needs assessment. The CDP team is reading reports and eyewitness accounts, connecting with our international NGO colleagues, and calling regional and issue-specific experts. We are turning over as many stones as possible to understand the range of current unmet needs as well as the needs that are likely to emerge in the coming months and years.
As with Hurricane Sandy, we are in search of the good ideas – the projects, programs, and organizations that are really working to make a difference in Yolanda-affected communities. Email me with your ideas and insights on the Typhoon recovery at firstname.lastname@example.org.