Red Cross meets to tackle rebuilding needs of ‘Yolanda’ victims
MANILA, Philippines—Almost one hundred days after Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) wrought havoc in the Visayas, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement met in Manila Wednesday to discuss future support to victims of the strongest typhoon to hit land.
“The conference gives us the chance to reflect on all that we have achieved in the current emergency and how to enhance future cooperation between partners in the movement as we help communities recover over the next few years,” said Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon.
“We still have so much work to do. Now that the emergency relief phase is ending, we are committed to supporting 350,000 needy people to rebuild and recover their livelihoods,” Gordon added.
He said the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), have distributed emergency relief, including food, shelter items, water and cash to more than one million people.
“Since day one, the Philippine Red Cross response to this disaster has been truly inspiring. They have been at the forefront of relief efforts. Their years of experience and their investment in disaster management prove that preparedness really pays when this kind of tragedy strikes,” said Jagan Chapagain, Director of the IFRC’s Asia Pacific zone office.
A recent Red Cross assessment of the typhoon-affected areas found that many communities starting to recover are being held back by pre-existing levels of poverty.
The assessment team recommended that to have a greater impact, recovery work needs to focus on livelihoods and shelter.
“Communities have shown extraordinary resolve in rebuilding their lives after this disaster, which has decimated thousands of livelihoods,” said Alain Aeschlimann, the ICRC’s head of operations for Asia and the Pacific.
“We are seeking to help the most vulnerable, often located in more remote, inaccessible areas where aid does not always easily reach, through early recovery programs aimed at getting them back on their feet again,” Aeschlimann.
In total, 8,500 Philippine Red Cross staff and volunteers from across the country have played different roles in the relief effort – packing and distributing relief supplies, providing emergency first aid and preventing disease, as well as clearing debris and reuniting family members separated by the disaster.
Representatives from the IFRC, ICRC and 33 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are participating in the Manila summit. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have collectively raised over 300 million Swiss Francs or $ 334.4 million so far for the Typhoon Haiyan response.
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