Melanie Ruiz, Operations Manager for HI Philippines and Indonesia, surveys the damage in the town of Surigao in the Philippines. | © K. Tolentino / HI
HI is preparing to launch its emergency relief operations in the Philippines in aid of vulnerable people in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Rai.
More than one million people have been affected by Typhoon Rai, which hit the Philippines between 16 and 18 December. HI was one of the first humanitarian actors to assess the damage in the field and is now preparing to launch its initial relief effort.
After having assessed the needs, HI’s teams in the Philippines will start their operations from 26 December in the provinces of Bohol and Surigao del Norte in aid of people affected by the typhoon.
HI’s teams in the province of Bohol are planning to distribute 3,024 temporary shelters to people whose homes have been destroyed. The organisation is also planning to hand out 2,700 tarpaulin sheets in partnership with another organisation. The support will provide families with decent shelter until they can rebuild their homes.
HI is planning to distribute 100 hygiene kits, composed of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and sanitary towels in the province of Surigao Del Norte. Moreover, the organisation is set to provide 300 of the most vulnerable families with cash transfer in three barangays - neighbourhoods - in Surigao city. Families will be able to use the aid to buy food in local markets.
“Our teams are happy to be part of these operations. HI was one of the first humanitarian organisations to assess needs in the field and we are happy to be returning with assistance to help affected populations. We’re keen to start implementing the first aid operations,” says Alvin Dumduma, HI’s project manager in the Philippines.
The organisation will distribute the aid after it has identified families and the most vulnerable individuals in coordination with local authorities and community teams.
“The situation is changing all the time. People affected by the typhoon do not want to wait around in overcrowded and uncomfortable evacuation centres, with limited access to sanitary facilities. They want to return home to rebuild their houses, even by using salvaged materials. We will have to reassess their needs when we start providing them with emergency assistance,” explains Alvin Dumduma. “With so many people affected, it’s really important to take into account the needs of the most vulnerable people and the most immediate needs.”
HI is working on the possibility of opening on child-friendly spaces, with educational and learning activities. These safe spaces can be used to supervise the children’s education and provide them with psychosocial assistance in order to detect signs of trauma.
In a second phase, the organisation is also planning to distribute non-food items like cooking kits and dignity kits, including items such as sanitary towels, underwear, toilet paper, etc.