Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest cyclone that has hit the Philippines. It is, in fact, considered the strongest recorded tropical cyclone in world history to make landfall with speeds up to 315km/h (195mph).
“The Typhoon lashed at the Philippine islands with record-breaking winds affecting 40 million people in the poorest parts of our country. As of now, 0ver 1,200 people [in the Philippines] are feared dead and missing” says Noel Pabiona, Country Director, Philippines.
When a disaster strikes, the first assistance that sponsored children get is from the church partner where they are registered. Compassion’s partners have been trained to come up with their own disaster response protocol that is unique to their areas and needs. Most churches have also established strong links with local government agencies and non-government organizations.
Immediately after a disaster, church partner staffers visit communities to see how sponsored children are doing and assess damages. Each child will be accounted for. In most cases, staff members themselves suffer from the effects of the disaster, but finding all registered children remains a priority.
Meanwhile, the country office organizes a disaster response team composed of staff and volunteers. This team is able to deliver relief goods, tap local agencies that provided clean water, organize a medical team and lead cleanup efforts.
Already, the disaster response team for Typhoon Haiyan has begun delivering relief items to church partners in Leyte, Samar and Cebu with the help of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who will be transporting the goods on military planes.
While people are being mobilized, goods packed and children cared for, the Complementary Interventions administrator gathers data, largely gathered through text messages, as most lines of communication have been wiped out. This data is used to inform Compassion of funds needed to begin recovery, as well as eventual rebuilding needs.
Proposals for the second phase of recovery are already arriving. Phase two of disaster relief requires more time and information to implement. This phase covers rebuilding, recovery and rehabilitation, which may include livelihood assistance, property restoration and reconstruction of facilities.
In 2006, after the fury of Typhoon Durian, the rehabilitation process took more than five years to complete. For this crisis, the second phase includes the construction of new homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
For Typhoon Haiyan, the first phase is well underway, and staff are already gathering information for the second phase.
“Our hands will be full as we embark on a massive relief and rehabilitation effort…but we are confident that our God ‘will never leave us nor forsake us,’” says Pabiona.