When Typhoon Haiyan hit in November 2013, our Children's Village in Tacloban was badly damaged. Children and staff had to climb onto roofs to escape the floods. Fortunately, all were safe. In the months after the disaster our presence in Tacloban has remained strong. SOS Children has been helping families to rebuild their homes and restart their lives.
Shubha Murthi has been coordinating our emergency relief programme in the Philippines. When she recently visited Tacloban, she noticed a flurry of activity as the community begins to look towards the future. Yet despite some progress, the journey to full recovery will take time. She said,
"Everything is going on as per the plans, and we are making decent progress. But even if we would like to run, we can only walk. Keep in mind the various issues on the ground, and the multiple agencies we have to work with on an everyday basis."
From Shubha's visit to Tacloban, we're able to report the latest developments in the Philippines.
Hope for families
When your home has been destroyed and everything in it wiped away, a 'house in a box' is a comforting gift. These boxes contain household items, and we have been giving them to hundreds of families in Palanog, Magayi and Bislig.
For many living in coastal villages, their main source of income before the typhoon struck was fishing. But when Haiyan battered their boats and tangled their fishing nets, they were left with no way to provide for their families. To help get them fishing again, we have ordered 15 boats for fishermen in Tacloban, which should arrive in 4-5 weeks.
Care for children
Of the tragedies caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the loss of both parents by many children is among the saddest. Once identified as an orphan, we have ensured that each child receives food, care and education. At the same time, we are looking for children in surrounding areas who might need special care.
As well as orphaned children, many others experienced trauma and need support. Across the regions affected, we established 10 child-friendly spaces. These are safe places where children can play, laugh and recover. They also provide parents with child-care services, so that they can spend time on recovery efforts.
As daily life gradually restores, we hope these spaces will soon no longer be needed. In time, children will have re-built schools to attend and cleared areas to play in. By the end of March 2014, we anticipate there will be three child-friendly spaces remaining.
Nearly 1,000 children have attended the child-friendly spaces, and each has received a hygiene and health kit. This contains basic hygiene items for children, including toothpaste, a brush and soap.
Reconstruction of schools and homes
At SOS Children's Village Tacloban, buildings were ripped apart by the typhoon. Reconstruction of the Children's Village began in February, where 95 children currently live. At the same time, reconstruction is under way on the local SOS school which is currently attended by 776 pupils. We hope to build new classrooms and extend the school to include secondary education.
Although hope is flickering on the horizon, many families and children in the Philippines are still living with the damaging effects of Typhoon Haiyan. You can support their recovery, and provide orphaned children with a new loving home, by supporting our emergency appeal. Alternatively, find out more about our work across the Philippines.