In the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, our child-friendly spaces offered thousands of children a chance to escape the horror and destruction left by the storm. We gave these children somewhere they could be with others, feel safe and even play, paint, sing and enjoy stories if they wanted to. Their children safe in our care, parents could do what they needed to provide for their families.
Today, we are helping families whose livelihoods have been destroyed begin to make a living again. In hard-hit places such as Tacloban, we are repairing homes and rebuilding schools, and constructing new ones to replace those which have been totally destroyed. Over the coming three years, we will help more than 1,000 families keep their independence, and provide homes for children who have no one else to care for them.
Assessing the damage
As time passes since the events of November 8, we can finally begin to assess the full impact of the storm. People across the whole central region of the Philippines were affected by Typhoon Haiyan, with those on the east coast suffering the worst.
The latest statistics reveal the sheer scale of the typhoon:
- Between 3 to 4 million families - around 16 million people - were affected.
- The storm hit 9 regions, 44 provinces, 587 towns, and 59 cities
- Nearly 1.2 million homes were damaged, of which almost 580,000 were totally destroyed.
- At the height of the relief effort, 1.5 million people took shelter in around 5,300 evacuation centres.
What did we do?
The badly affected city of Tacloban was the focus of our initial response, as we have a Children's Village there. First, we acted to ensure the safety of SOS families following damage to our Village. Many children and SOS Mothers were moved to our Children's Village in Calbayog, further north on the island of Samar. They were soon able to return to Tacloban, once the worst damage to the Village had been repaired.
Creating child-friendly spaces
We then set about creating child-friendly spaces in vulnerable communities around Tacloban, beginning in Palanog and Tigbao. These were places where children could find refuge and safety away from the destruction on the streets. By the end of December, we were providing care to 2,000 children in 11 child-friendly spaces.
These spaces were designed to:
- Create a safe and secure environment for children away from the danger and chaos of the city.
- Give parents the time to collect food, medication and other forms of aid and support, without the responsibility of childcare.
- Help children begin to overcome trauma through counselling, talking therapy and support.
- Provide activities such as sports, games, storytelling, music and singing, and painting.
- Allow children to be together in a protected space.
- Help children understand the health and hygiene demands of the new environment.
What are we doing today?
As the long-term challenges become apparent, we are helping people return to normality as quickly as possible. By talking to local people, we have worked quickly to establish the long-term need.
Over the next three years, we will help at least 1,000 families remain independent. Where the typhoon has destroyed livelihoods, we will create opportunities. We will give people the wherewithal to work; providing support and equipment to get people earning again. From supplying rickshaws to restoring lost or damaged items, we are helping many families make a living.
We are providing:
- Shelter: We will build houses for over 250 families in Palanog, a small community on the outskirts of Tacloban.
- Education: We are already working to rebuild two primary schools - in Tigbao and Palanog - and are working to provide children with the books and resources they lost in the typhoon
- Work: In the fishing communities of Bislig and Magay in the town of Tanauan in Leyte province, boats have been lost and livelihoods destroyed. We will provide boats, nets, engines and motors so that fishermen can provide for their families.
- Care: We will provide a loving home in an SOS Children's Village for many of the children who lost their families in the typhoon.
How you can help
The best way to help in the Philippines is to sponsor a Children's Village. This way, you can help ensure that children in the Philippines benefit from the very best care and support in a safe and loving environment.
We have worked in the Philippines for nearly four decades. Find out more about our work in eight locations across the country.