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Typhoon Haiyan: One year on

A year after the typhoon, smiles are returning to children's faces
A year after the typhoon, smiles are returning to children's faces

On 8 November 2013, the Philippines was devastated by one of the worst storms on record. Typhoon Haiyan killed 10,000 people in the Philippines and affected 16 million. A third of them were children.

A year on, and there is cause for hope. Life may never be the same for children who lost their parents to the storm. However, many children in the Philippines have begun new lives with other relatives. As well as rebuilding schools, homes and livelihoods, we are helping families like these provide a bright future for the hardest-hit children of all.

With the help of our supporters, we are bringing stability and security to the lives of those hardest-hit.

Becoming a mother again

Asela and her grandson Nico, who was orphaned by Typhoon Haiyan
Asela was forced to become a mother again when her grandchildren were orphaned by the storm. Here she is with 14-year-old Nico.
“At 65, I have to be a mother again,” says Asela. A year after Typhoon Haiyan, she is now caring for five grandchildren who were orphaned by the storm. Despite the tragedy that befell her family, she somehow manages to maintain a sunny outlook: “This is what fate gave me... And I choose to see that as a blessing; something that I can laugh and smile about. I asked them to call me 'Mama' and I'm lucky because somehow it feels very natural and coming from the children it feels extra special.”

Despite her optimism, Asela found the extra financial burden challenging. “I am a senior citizen who didn't get to finish high school - and of course no one would hire me. My husband does the odd bit of carpentry work and he helps out in the market, but this isn't enough to support five children, all of whom are going to school.”

A future for orphaned children

Asela is the best hope for a family torn apart by natural disaster. With help, families like hers can flourish. That's why we're providing essential support for those caring for children orphaned in last year's storm. Oscar Garol is the director of our Children's Village in Tacloban, one of the country's worst-hit cities: “The goal is for these children to get the same kind of support that our children inside the Children's Village get – it's free education, allowance for everyday expenses, medical assistance and the like. It's really about supporting their guardians – who are supporting them.”

Every month, Asela and carers like her receive enough money to pay for education, clothes, healthcare and even transport to school and food. For Asela, the programme is a “godsend.” “It's the kind of help that we need... probably the kind of help that people in our situation needed the most.” Oscar says that the welfare of the children is vital: “We want the children to realise that there is a future waiting for them. They may have lost their parents and their loved ones, but there are people willing to help them.”

What else are we doing to help?

Most of all, children need care and education, and families need a sustainable livelihood. Natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan remove these requirements for security, ripping families apart, destroying homes and schools, and making work impossible. Our focus has been on restoring them:

  • Girl at Palanog school
    We are rebuilding Palanog elementary school, which was destroyed in the typhoon. The new school is open today and will be complete in 2015.
    Rebuilding homes - we are building homes that will better resist future disasters and provide families with the comfort they need to ensure children grow up happy and healthy. By mid-2015, we aim to complete completed 600 houses.
  • Reconstructing schools - Palanog elementary school was one of many schools destroyed in Typhoon Haiyan. Located high up in the mountains, Palanog elementary is the only school providing education for children living in this remote community. The school will be fully restored by early next year.
  • Supporting orphaned children - by helping families like Asela's, we are ensuring the most vulnerable children of all can remain in their communities while benefiting from all the support they need to flourish.
  • Providing care and therapy - in the aftermath of the typhoon, our child-friendly spaces in Tacloban provided a place of refuge where children could escape the horror and chaos of disaster. This enabled parents to begin rebuilding their lives.
  • Restoring livelihoods in devastated communities - fishing families living in the communities of Bisleg and Magay rely on their boats and equipment to survive, but much was destroyed in the typhoon. We have provided new boats, nets, engines and motors to replace and restore.

I want to help!

With the help of supporters like you, we provide long-term family care for the most vulnerable children in the Philippines. We are there when disasters strike and remain long after they have passed. By sponsoring a child in the Philippines, you can provide long-term family care and the love of an SOS mother:

Sponsor a child in the Philippines

You can also learn more about how we help families and children during emergencies.