The deadly typhoon which struck the Philippines in November 2013 affected 14 million people, and made around four million homeless. Forceful winds and severe flooding destroyed houses and livelihoods, leaving many with nothing. Life after Typhoon Haiyan has been a struggle for those affected, and many continue to seek food, shelter and work.
In the past eight months, communities are gradually recovering, with hope for the future edging back into these people's lives. The return to normality is a long journey and full of challenges. SOS Children has been supporting affected families every step of the way - from emergency relief when disaster first struck, to ongoing long-term support.
A dream made into a reality - thanks to you
As well as providing fishermen with new boats and nets after theirs were destroyed by the typhoon, we are also supporting the construction of 300 new houses. Palanong is in the suburbs of Tacloban city - one of the most devastated areas in the Philippines. Here, the first two houses have recently been completed - and families have already moved in!
Lizelle Acosta and July Acosta are the parents of three children, including four-year-old Jan Andrea who has special needs. The family was already struggling with poverty, when Typhoon Haiyan struck. “We lost most of our belongings,” Lizelle recalls. “It was very tough to manage on our little income.”
"A comfortable and secure home"
Lizelle spends her days caring for Jan Andrea and providing her with one-to-one attention. As a result, she couldn't work and the family relied upon the small income from July, the father of the family. “My priority was milk for children and medicines for little Jan,” Lizelle says. “We dreamt of a house, but on our income it was just a dream - until SOS made it a reality.”
The Acosta family were selected to be one of the first families to move into a permanent house, recently completed with the support of SOS Children. “I am really thankful to SOS for providing us a comfortable and secure home,” says Lizelle. The family made a big banner for their new house, which thanks all of our supporters for turning this family's dream into a reality.
A wish that has come true
The Baleno family are also celebrating their new home in Palanog, Tacloban city. Before they moved into their new house, they were living in temporary shelter which was in a poor state and let in rain through holes in the ceiling. Guillerma, the mother of three daughters, said that “I remember several times we woke up in the middle of the night because of the rain and would use a big umbrella for cover.”
The family had a small income, and though they longed for a safe home, their priority was getting enough food and sending their daughters to school. “For a family earning less than 3,000 pesos (roughly £400) per month, building a house can cost them their whole life,” says Subhash Mishra, who helped to carry out SOS Children's emergency relief programme in Tacloban.
“Now, I feel secure with my daughters”
During Christmas last year Edilyn, the middle daughter in the Baleno family, wrote a wish on a star-shaped piece of paper. “She wrote on her wishing star that she hoped for a good education and a house,” her mother says. A few months later, Guillerma received some news which seemed to answer Edilyn's wish:
“My husband and I were just so happy when we learnt we were among the families selected to get a house from SOS Children. We could not believe something so wonderful could happen to us. Now, I feel secure with my daughters. Now, we do not have to use an umbrella every time it rains.”
A special blessing ceremony took place as the house was handed over to the Beleno family. The whole community were present to celebrate with them. “I am really happy,” says seven-year old Edilyn, wearing a big smile on her face. “We now have a house; my wish has come true. My sisters, mama and papa are so excited to go into the house… our house, after the blessings.”
Our focus in the Philippines is on helping families and communities to recover and become independent and self-sustaining. The Acosta family and the Beleno family are part of our efforts to rebuild houses destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. With safe shelter, children can grow up in a loving home. By the end of August, we will begin to build houses for 23 more families. As well as family homes, we are also building a new school in Palanog which will have 19 classrooms and a gymnasium.
Thank you. It is due to your support that the dreams and wishes of families in the Philippines are coming true. Learn more about our work in the Philippines.