The Philippines: Helping People Rebuild Their Homes

The devastating typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8th, 2013, affecting more than 16 million victims.  Furthermore, over 1.14 million houses were destroyed or damaged. AAR Japan has been conducting research and providing relief supplies to support these victims, with a focus on providing aid to people with disabilities, who may otherwise be unable to access vital aid. Juri HIROYA (AAR Tokyo office) reports from the severely damaged Tacloban, Leyte Island.

Waste and Debris Scattered Throughout the Town

Tents in the coastal area. Most houses were swept away by the typhoon. (February 7th, 2014.)
In early February I arrived at the airport in Tacloban. The destruction caused by the typhoon is immediately visible. The roof of the terminal still requires repair and the luggage conveyers remain broken, forcing airport staff to screen luggage manually. Despite this difficult circumstance, the airport was quick to reopen to enable vital relief supplies to arrive in the wake of the disaster.
Little improvement has been achieved since my last visit in December, with trees and debris scattered throughout Tacloban. Despite the Philippine Government's attempt to install temporary housing, many people are forced to live in tents or houses which have been patched up with scrap material and plastic sheets.

Provision of Housing Repair Materials 

Shelter repair kit supplied by AAR. Most houses are simply built and the locals are able to repair their own houses if the tools and materials are provided.

Following the typhoon, AAR has visited the homes of people with disabilities in Tacloban and Palo, a town south of Tacloban,  to conduct research into the nature and extent of the damage while providing food supplies. In addition, after coordinating with other aid organizations and governmental agencies, we provide typhoon survivors with shelter repair kits. The  kits include 6 corrugated roof panels, 4 plywood for walls, 8 wooden pillars (made of coconut trees) and tools including nails, a saw, and a hammer.
Debris from the collapsed houses are piled up in the coastal area. (February 13th, 2014.)
"NO BUILD ZONE" signs are put up in the area within 40m of the coastline. (February 13th, 2014.)
Juri HIROYA (AAR Tokyo Office, on the right) handing a set of tools as a part ofshelter repair kit to Mr. Roderito Nowerasu. (February 13th, 2014.)
On February 13th 2014, we provided 34 families living in the coastal area of Tacloban with shelter repair kits. One of the beneficiaries that day, Mr. Roderito Nowerasu (49) lost his right arm in a train accident in 2000. Mr. Nowerasu remained in his home with his wife and 6 children during the typhoon rather than evacuating. Luckily he and his family were unhurt but the roof of their house was blown away. Prior to the typhoon, Mr. Nowerasu worked at a fish market, but the typhoon has caused the supply shortage of fish  which resulted in loss of  his job.

Helping People Take Their Next Steps

With a smile on his face, a victim in Tacloban took home a shelter repair kit. (February 24th, 2014.)
As of March 17, AAR has provided shelter repair kits to 990 households in Northern Cebu and Leyte. The government and other organizations have been providing a certain amount of food supply and basic necessities, but “AAR Japan has been the first to provide materials for repairing houses” as commented by one of the local resident. However, 4 months after the disaster, the majority of people in the Tacloban and its surrounding areas are still forced to live in unrepaired homes. AAR will continue surveying households with persons with disabilities door-to-door and giving away shelter repair kits to victims to help them rebuild their lives and take their next steps. We appreciate your generous support.

※ This program has been made possible through your generous donation and grants from Japan Platform (JPF).

Juri HIROYA, AAR Japan Tokyo Office
After graduating from university, she interned at a Kenyan NGO, and then worked at a company. She joined AAR in 2009. Previously, she was in charge of PR, the Philippines emergency assistance in September 2009, and Pakistan program and worked in AAR South Sudan Office. Currently, she is working on the Philippines emergency assistance program from AAR Tokyo Office. She is from Kanagawa prefecture.
※Reporter profile as of the date of the article.