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Typhoon one year later.

TYPHOON HAIYAN STRUCK THE PHILIPPINES ON NOVEMBER 8,2013, wiping out entire communities and devastating families. It directly affected over 16 million people and caused more than 6,300 deaths. Millions lost their homes and were displaced.

The day the storm hit, Evelinda Somo-Oc was visiting her family. She lived through the experience of the typhoon with them, but returned home to find that her house was gone.

"The house was completely washed out. I was not afraid for myself, only for my kids," she says. Evelinda then shares, with tears, that she also lost her youngest child, a two-year-old son, as well as her husband's parents and grandmother.

"We are not only building houses, we are building communities"

Evelinda and her family currently live in a makeshift shelter along the seashore, but just found out they will soon be moving into a safe, typhoon-resistant shelter. "I am already excited about the new house. And I will love to plant my new garden!"

Presbyterian World Service & Development is helping support the construction and rebuilding of 2,700 houses for families whose homes were lost or damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.

Felipe Gaucus is helping reconstruct homes in his community--for his own family and families like Evelinda's. "We feel safe here because the flood cannot reach us when it comes. I'm content. The work helps me to forget, because I am focused. It keeps me from thinking about what I lost. It feels good to participate and strengthen the community, to build for my family."

Growing Businesses, Growing Communities Almost six million people lost their livelihoods when Typhoon Haiyan hit. Fisherfolk lost boats and nets, farmers lost planted crops and seeds, and manywho ran small businesses lost all of their goods. Their sole source of income no longer existed.

Some made their living by driving pedicabs--or cycle rickshaws. In September, nine families received new pedicabs through a PWS&D supported program, allowing them to restart their small businesses and provide for their families once again.

One driver says, "We have also formed our own association of pedicab drivers, which will allow us to help and support one another. We are recognized in our community, setting a good example for how to strengthen the community as we move forward."

Business owners impacted by the typhoon received small amounts of capital in order to reopen stores they ran from their houses--ensuring their families and communities will thrive again.

Bayanihan--a way of life

Bayanihan is a Filipino cultural tradition--an age-old system of neighbours helping neighbours. Bayanihan is a spirit of community unity or effort in order to achieve a common goal. It is a way of life that has been a defining characteristic of the Filipino response to Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda, as it is known locally).

This spirit of community and sense of connection is alive and well in the Philippines--represented by families working to support each other or local officials doing their best to ensure their villages have what they need to thrive. Children, women and men are all working together to improve the conditions they are living in following the typhoon.

Communities deeply impacted by the natural disaster are seeing great progress being made, even as much remains to be done. PWS&D will continuc supporting long-term rehabilitation-and livelihood recovery efforts through the generosity of our supporters.

Through the generous support of Presbyterians across the country, $852,151 was donated in response to Typhoon Haiyan.

This work has been possible through membership in Evelinda by her family's temporary shelter--they will soon move to a new home.


16 million   affected

6,300        deaths

4.1 million  displaced

1.1 million  houses damaged/destroyed

602          shelters constructed

3,010        people received shelter support

11,035       benefited from fishing, agriculture
             or small business support

115,435      people received food

41,725       received bedding and kitchen kits

20,020       received hygiene kits

4,400        will benefit from water pumps/wells

198          people trained to provide psychosocial support
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Publication:Presbyterian Record
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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