Yolanda survivors get back on their feet, find new work
MANILA, Philippines – Jessie Lape Jr., a rice farmer and father of 3 from Luca in Ajuy, Panay, was left with nothing to harvest after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) wiped out their crops on November 8, 2013.
“It was a desperate time,” Lape recalled.
A year after Yolanda ripped through the Philippines, tens of thousands of families whose livelihoods were devastated are returning to work with the support of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Six million workers saw their livelihoods either wiped out or damaged by the disaster – of which 2.6 million were living on or below the poverty line before the supertyphoon, a presentation from the International Labor Organization (ILO) showed.
"(The) livelihood support has changed everything. I had the money to buy seeds, repair tools, and now I have crop insurance. I can sleep easier knowing we are in a better position when the next typhoon hits,” Jesse shared.
To date, about 30,000 households have received cash grants of up to $220 (P9,871.39*) as part of the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) 3-year, $360 million recovery plan to support 500,000 people across Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Panay and Palawan.
Kick-starting people’s livelihood is key to the long-term recovery of disaster-hit communities, PRC chairman Richard Gordon said.
“… And we have made this a priority in our work, as well as housing. One year after [Yolanda] robbed so many families of their income, we are seeing people return to work and others setting up new businesses,” Gordon said.
Sources of livelihood
Initial data shows farming, rearing livestock, and setting up local convenience shops are the top 3 income-generators for those who have received Red Cross support, based on International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) data from 13,047 conditional cash grant beneficiaries as of October 19 this year.
Pigs, goats, chickens, and stock for convenience or sari-sari stores are among the most popular items being bought by Yolanda survivors as part of the livelihood program, the same data showed.
Peanut butter production, candle making, and turning truck tires into kitchen kits are also among the micro-enterprises that have been set up by entrepreneurs using the grants.
Vocational training such as sustainable farming techniques, hog rearing, bookkeeping, arithmetic, and advice on how to diversify and grow businesses is also part of the Red Cross support package.
Recovery under way
Since Yolanda, PRC together with the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been on the ground supporting hundreds of communities. (READ: #AfterYolanda: Red Cross volunteers still helping)
Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies from around the world are also working as part of the supertyphoon recovery effort.
More than 1.3 million people were provided with emergency relief in the aftermath. A year on, the Red Cross’s long-term recovery plan is targeting some of the most vulnerable typhoon survivors.
Building back safer shelters and community-training on construction practices are a central part of the plan, with focus on resilience and risk-reduction. There are training courses for masons and carpenters. More than 6,500 fishermen were given cash to buy or repair damaged boats.
About 6,100 houses have been rebuilt. In the next 15 months, 40,000 families will have received safer homes.
More than 23,000 households have also received roofing sheets to repair their homes. So far, a total of 192 classrooms have been repaired or rebuilt and rural health facilities are also being restored.
“Recovery is well under way but there are still humanitarian needs on the ground and we are working across 400 communities (barangays) to ensure people get the support they need to rebuild their lives,” said PRC secretary General Gwendolyn Pang. – Rappler.com
For Rappler's full coverage of the 1st anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), go to this page.
*($1 = P44.87)