Three years after Haiyan: more resilience for women & communities

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 Emergency Response

by Dennis Amata - Information & Communications Manager, CARE Philippines

Three years after typhoon Haiyan caused catastrophic devastation across Central Philippines, more communities have become resilient to disasters and climate change impact.

On 08 November 2013, Haiyan shocked the world as it mercilessly swept away houses, destroyed farmlands and livelihood assets, and left unimaginable number of casualties. The typhoon struck mostly the poorest communities and left people --including landless farmers and fisherfolks, indigenous tribes and micro-entrepreneurs-- without any source of income.

As of November 2016, international aid organization CARE and its partners in the Visayas have reached more than 380,000 people through emergency food distributions, shelter repair and livelihoods recovery assistance, and various trainings on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, women empowerment, and skills advancement.

“Typhoons and other natural calamities have been hampering people’s recovery efforts. So it is important to not just provide livelihood options but also educate the communities about disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation,” said David Gazashvili, CARE Philippines Country Director.

CARE was quick to mobilize its staff and resources from different parts of the world after the typhoon. Through the generous support of our donors and collaboration of our staff, partners and communities we support, we are able to help build sustainable livelihoods and disaster-resilient communities,” said David Gazashvili, CARE Philippines Country Director.

According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Philippines endured a total of 274 natural calamities over the past two decades, making it the fourth most disaster-prone country in the world. After Haiyan, the Philippines experienced relatively strong typhoons such as Hagupit in 2014, Koppu and Melor in 2015 and recently Sarika and Haima that caused massive agricultural damage.

“The biggest challenge for these communities is to protect their assets from natural calamities that’s why our emergency response is part of a long-term commitment. We place great importance on building local capacity, partnerships with local organizations and strengthening women’s participation.”

CARE is currently implementing livelihoods recovery programs for communities severely affected by Haiyan in Eastern and Western Visayas regions.  A total of 281 community associations have been supported through financial assistance and trainings to revive rice and corn fields, provide harvest facilities for farmers, boost abaca and seaweed production, promote eco-tourism, have economic opportunities for women weavers, etc.

Also, more than 900 women micro-entrepreneurs have been assisted to start their income-generating activities and involve more people in their respective communities.

Aside from the financial support, CARE has partnered with various local NGOs, government agencies and LGUs, the Academe and training institutions to provide learning sessions to people affected by the typhoon.

The trainings include relevant topics on entrepreneurship, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, hazard mapping and contingency planning for disaster preparedness, gender and development, climate change mitigation and other industry-focused subjects.

CARE’s assisted community organizations are now practicing organic farming, using solar dryers for their commodities, and other eco-friendly livelihood practices.

CARE continues to work with the affected people and reach more communities in the Philippines through livelihoods recovery assistance and skill-building trainings. CARE works in the most vulnerable and geographically isolated areas affected by Haiyan, with special attention given to women and girls and the most marginalized.

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE has worked in the Philippines since 1949, providing emergency relief when disaster strikes, helping communities prepare for disasters and implement sustainable livelihood projects. CARE's past responses in the Philippines include typhoon Bopha in 2012, Haiyan in 2013, Hagupit in 2014, Koppu and Melor in 2015 and recently Sarika and Haima in 2016. CARE continues to assist communities severely affected by Haiyan through livelihoods recovery and skill-building trainings in partnership with various local organizations and institutions.

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