18 February 2014
Last week the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) released the 2nd and final report of its work in emergency relief for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The report concludes ECP’s humanitarian relief efforts in the last two and half months, from late November 2013 to January 31 2014. For the most part, ECP’s activities were closely coordinated with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) especially in terms of targeting communities most in need as well as in the use of NCCP’s distribution network and logistics.
In January and early February, an additional 3,500 relief packs were distributed to at least 13 communities in Western Samar, Cebu, Ormoc and Leyte. This total was in addition to the 2,200 relief packs already distributed to different communities in November and December 2013. Relief packs included a food pack consisting of 10 kgs rice, 3 packs energy mix, 2 packs sweet potato biscuits/flakes, 3 packs vegetable noodles, ½ kg sugar, ¼ kg salt and 3 protein items (ulam); a hygiene kit was also included in each relief pack containing 3 pcs herbal soap, 4 pcs toothbrush, 4 pcs underwear, 1 bar detergent, 3 shampoo sachets, and 1 tube toothpaste. During this period, two of the solar lighting systems previously installed by ECP engineers were pulled out of two communities (which had now been reconnected to the power grid); the solar lighting systems were transferred to two other communities still without power.
Remarkably, many communities previously involved in ECP projects in other parts of the Philippines have become active participants in the relief efforts and presumably in other ways, if needed, during the next phase of the work. ECP partner communities have provided the bulk of the items in the relief packs (rice from Isabela communities; sweet potato biscuits and flakes from Besao and Leseb; energy mix from Dap-ayan; dishwashing liquid from Maligaya; and herbal soap from Amtuagan and Namillangan). The women of an urban poor community in Metro Manila sewed cloth bags from the mountains of clothing (which were deemed unsuitable for distribution) donated to the NCCP. The women said it was their own small contribution to the disaster-affected families; the cloth bags were used to put the relief packs instead of plastic bags. The engagement of these communities, including some one-off support provided by others, is truly inspiring.
ECP is also directly engaging disaster-affected communities by buying agricultural produce which can be processed and/or sold such as pineapples to make into jams, or seashells fashioned into necklaces and other items. In January 2014, whilst continuing with its relief work, ECP already started identifying communities where it would continue work in developmental relief and livelihood rehabilitation. At least 4 communities had since been selected and community consultations held.
Floyd Lalwet, ECP’s Provincial Secretary and National Development Officer, said that ECP believes that despite the damage brought by Typhoon Haiyan, ECP’s partner communities have resources they can use to recover and get on with their lives; ECP’s role will be to engage with them in the mobilisation of these resources.
To read ECP’s full report, please visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anglican-Relief-for-Typhoon-Yolanda-Survivors/360331897435421?ref=stream