UNHCR to send aid packs and tents for Typhoon Haiyan victims in Philippines

Making a Difference, 11 November 2013

© Courtesy JSLim
Some of the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, the Philippines.

MANILA, the Philippines, November 11 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency announced on Monday that it is organizing an emergency airlift to the Philippines to help some of the estimated 9.8 million people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

UNHCR has already released supplies from its warehouse in Cotabato, Mindanao Island, and is transporting to Tacloban 1,400 protection kits and hygiene kits containing basic items such as plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, soap and underwear.

On Wednesday, a Boeing 747 flight carrying 2,500 tents from UNHCR's stockpile in Dubai is expected to fly to Cebu. From there, the aid will be taken to the typhoon-affected areas, where they will be distributed by the government's Department of Social Welfare and Development and other partners. Further airlifts are being planned.

"The level of destruction we're seeing reported is absolutely staggering," said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "Although UNHCR's work is usually focused on conflict-related situations, the exceptional nature of this tragic situation requires all possible efforts to get help to people in need, and we will play our full part in the common response to assist those affected."

Looting, mobbing of relief trucks, and prison breaks have been reported in some affected areas of the Philippines, adding to the trauma of survivors. To help with these and other vital protection needs, UNHCR is immediately deploying an additional emergency team that will include protection experts.

Working closely with the authorities and local communities, UNHCR's efforts are part of an inter-agency emergency response to the typhoon. In all, it plans to fly in emergency aid for 16,000 families. As part of a coordinated protection response, UNHCR will also distribute 50,000 solar-powered lanterns that can help to mitigate the risks of gender-based violence and enhance the protection of families who have lost their homes.

"Our supplies will target zones devastated by the storm, paying special attention to heightened needs in areas which were already affected by internal conflict, including Eastern Samar, Northern Negros and Masbate surrounding the badly-hit area of Tacloban," said Bernard Kerblat, UNHCR's representative in the Philippines. "This could involve setting up a UNHCR presence in Cebu and a logistical hub in Roxas."

Together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, UNHCR co-leads the protection cluster, looking at issues related to the restoration of civil registration, and ensuring fair and effective services and distribution of aid.

For this emergency response, UNHCR has mobilized US$3 million from its operational reserve in Geneva and will seek a total of US$10 million to provide life-saving aid for three months. It will work closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the national Commission of Human Rights to assist people displaced by this natural disaster.

UNHCR traditionally works with conflict-displaced people in Mindanao. It also distributed protection and hygiene kits to 600 families displaced by fighting in Zamboanga and Basilan in September this year.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Typhoon Haiyan Devastates the Philippines

An estimated 13 million people were affected when Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines on November 8. Thousands were killed and about 3 million are believed to be displaced - some of them living in evacuation sites, others on the ruins of their former homes. Tacloban City in Leyte province was one of the hardest-hit areas. A week after the typhoon made landfall, large parts of its coast remain flattened and piles of debris still line the streets. Working with the Philippines government and UN and NGO partners, UNHCR is airlifting emergency supplies for thousands of survivors. The agency is delivering tents, plastic sheets, mosquito nets and other critical aid. It is also co-leading the protection cluster with the government, working to identify vulnerable people and ensuring that they have access to basic assistance and services. UNHCR has appealed for US$15 million to meet these critical needs. UNHCR is now present in Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte province, as well as Guiuan in Eastern Samar province.

Typhoon Haiyan Devastates the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan: On the Road to Recovery Six Months After the Storm

Six months after Typhoon Haiyan carved its deadly and destructive path through the central Philippines and forcibly displaced 4 million Filipinos, the area is like a big construction site as people get on with rebuilding their flattened homes as well as their lives. Many have moved into renovated homes while thousands of those who fled to cities like Cebu and Manila have returned home. But large numbers still live in tents or former evacuation centres; full recovery is still some way off and many people need help. UNHCR is working with the government and other partners to address the challenges and find solutions for the displaced. The refugee agency has provided assistance to more than 600,000 people, distributing shelter materials and household items, including solar-powered lanterns in areas where there is still no electricity. UNHCR is also supporting a government-led mobile civil registration project to give 100,000 people continued access to social welfare, education and employment. Photographer Jeoffrey Maitem marked the six-month milestone by visiting communities recovering from Typhoon Haiyan.

Typhoon Haiyan: On the Road to Recovery Six Months After the Storm

Picking Up the Pieces in Sri Lanka

In an unprecedented response to a natural disaster, the U.N. refugee agency – whose mandate is to protect refugees fleeing violence and persecution – has kicked off a six-month, multi-million dollar emergency relief operation to aid tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Somalia. UNHCR has worked in Sri Lanka for nearly 20 years and has the largest operational presence in the country with seven offices, 113 staff and a strong network of partnerships in place. The day of the tsunami, UNHCR opened up its warehouses in the island nation and began distributing existing stockpiles – including plastic sheeting, cooking sets and clothing for 100,000 people.

UNHCR estimates that some 889,000 people are now displaced in Sri Lanka, including many who were already displaced by the long-running conflict in the north. Prior to the tsunami, UNHCR assisted 390,000 people uprooted by the war. UNHCR is now expanding its logistical and warehouse capacity throughout the island to facilitate delivery of relief items to the needy populations, including in the war-affected area. The refugee agency is currently distributing relief items and funding mobile health clinics to assist the injured and sick.

Picking Up the Pieces in Sri Lanka

Iraq: Innovation & Refugee ShelterPlay video

Iraq: Innovation & Refugee Shelter

The IKEA Foundation is funding the development of durable and easy-to-assemble shelters for refugees. Syrians in northern Iraq have been among the first to try them out.
Looking Back: UNHCR's Challenges in 2013Play video

Looking Back: UNHCR's Challenges in 2013

In 2013, conflict and natural disaster forced people to flee their homes in places like Syria, the Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and South Sudan. UNHCR was able to help millions of the affected people, but this would not have been possible without the special partners who supported the agency's life-saving work.
Philippines: A home for NowPlay video

Philippines: A home for Now

Losing your family and home is losing everything you are and have. Tyhone Haiyan tore many families apart and took almost every persons home in Tacloban City ... in one day. UNHCR has provided more than 1,500 family tents to families in this area in addition to solar lanterns, plastic sheets, blankets and other relief items to help the people of Tacloban City regain a sense of life.