Natural disasters are frequent occurrences in the Philippines. Help is providing emergency aid to the victims of Typhoon Mangkhut and is rebuilding destroyed villages so that people have safe places to live. We also support people in preparing for possible future disasters.
"After the typhoon nothing was like it was before. Our school was seriously damaged. Teaching was no longer possible. Thanks to Help we now finally have a school again and it's even better than before." School pupils in the primary school in South District Ormoc
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The Philippines: living on a powder keg
Earthquakes, metre-high waves, torrential downpours and storms with winds of up to 236 miles per hour: each year, natural disasters leave behind a trail of devastation on the Philippines. Why? Because of its geographical location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, also known as the typhoon belt, the country is especially susceptible to natural dangers. Typhoons damage homes and buildings, schools, electricity and water supply networks, and they destroy fields and crops, depriving many people of their livelihoods. Coral reefs are also destroyed by the violence of nature, leaving fishermen’s nets empty. These fishermen lose their source of income and can no longer feed their families.
Climate change has made the situation even worse: the frequency and the intensity of tropical storms in the Philippines are increasing, and they are striking the 7,000 islands with greater and greater ferocity – like Typhoon Mangkhut in September 2018. Over 3 million people were affected by the tropical cyclone and are dependent on emergency aid and reconstruction assistance.
Preparedness, not charity
Every second counts in an emergency: early-warning systems must work. Emergency aid measures have to be implemented quickly. Escape routes must be clearly marked, and protected areas must be available for evacuated towns and villages.
Help has been working in the Philippines since the end of 2013. Our motto is “preparedness, not charity”. Together with our local partner organisations, Help is preparing the population for emergencies. At our training courses and workshops in the project region of Eastern Samar, people learn how to clearly assign responsibilities so that communities can respond to an emergency. Evacuation plans are prepared jointly so that people can be brought to safety quickly and effective aid can be provided to victims.
But our aid does not stop at preparing for the future. Immediately after Typhoon Haiyan and Typhoon Hagupit, Help provided emergency aid that was vital for survival and distributed food, materials for repairs and tarpaulins.
- 12.3 million people were affected by natural disasters in 2016 (2017)
- 83 million people in the Philippines were affected by 97 tropical storms between 2005 and 2015 (2017)
- The Philippines was ranked third in the global index of countries most at risk of natural disasters in 2017 (2017)
- 21 per cent of the population live below the poverty line
Help is currently preparing 14,938 people for natural disasters:
- Training local authorities in community-centred disaster preparedness
- Conducting risk analyses for communities to identify and prevent dangers
- Preparing emergency and evacuation plans at the municipal and village level
- Installing a community-centred early-warning system
- Running simulations to prepare for emergencies
- Building a disaster-resistant, standardised multi-purpose halls
In the last five years, Help has supported 32,960 people by rebuilding schools and sanitary facilities, providing relief supplies and distributing work materials.