• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Typhoon Haiyan: UNHCR helps government decongest evacuation centres

Briefing Notes, 26 November 2013

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 26 November 2013, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

In the Philippines, UNHCR is working with the authorities to decongest overcrowded evacuation centres housing survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Thousands of people were evacuated to public buildings such as stadiums, schools and churches ahead of the November 8 typhoon. Many have since left, but an estimated 240,000 people still remain in some 1,100 evacuation centres, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

These centres are often overcrowded, with many families living in confined spaces with limited water and sanitation facilities. There is no privacy and tensions are rising. These public buildings are not meant for long-term stay and the situation is not sustainable.

UNHCR is supporting the authorities with decongestion efforts in close coordination with the shelter and camp coordination and camp management clusters. We are also working to ensure that the displaced people are consulted and that alternatives proposed are as safe dignified as possible.

The following are our latest interventions:

In Tacloban's San Jose village one of the worst-affected in the area we are handing over 1,000 tents, 3,000 blankets, 2,000 jerry cans and 1,000 kitchen sets to the local authorities to help the affected population currently in evacuation centres to rebuild their homes.

In Tanauan, south of Tacloban, UNHCR is providing another 1,000 tents to the mayor to help displaced people move out of evacuation centres.

In Guiuan, in Eastern Samar province, we are also distributing plastic sheets and other supplies to families in the evacuation centres and in their home areas.

UNHCR is working with the Philippine government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It has provided 240 tents to typhoon-affected staff of the Department and helped them return to their posts.

We continue to send relief supplies from Cebu and Tacloban to the UNHCR humanitarian hubs in Ormoc and Guiuan. So far, these supplies have been distributed to more than 50,000 people.

UNHCR has opened a hub in Roxas City in Capiz province and is mobilizing staff to open another hub in Borongan in Eastern Samar province. At least 17 international staff have reinforced UNHCR's 30-strong personnel in the Philippines for this emergency. More staff deployments are expected.

Nine international flights have transported relief supplies from UNHCR stockpiles in Dubai and Copenhagen. Military C-130 planes from Sweden, Australia and New Zealand have helped UNHCR ferry supplies from Cebu to the typhoon-devastated areas.

Under the inter-agency response to Typhoon Haiyan, UNHCR is supporting the government's efforts by providing relief supplies and coordinating protection monitoring and interventions.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Tacloban, Vivian Tan on mobile +639175963484
  • In Manila, Fernando del Mundo on mobile +639209283958
  • Marie Michelle Liquigan on mobile +639189208765
  • Karin de Gruijl on mobile +63 91 834 3838
  • In Geneva Babar Baloch on mobile +41 79 557 9106
• 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

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.
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.
Philippines: Leaving the Darkness Play video

Philippines: Leaving the Darkness

When typhoon Haiyan swept Tacloban City, it took with it what people need the most to see their way through any hard time: light. UNHCR has provided people of the Philippines with relief items that are helping make a difference. Relief items such as solar lanterns, plastic sheets, blankets and more than 1,500 family tents to families in this area.