The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are directing three grants totaling $175,000 to rehabilitation and livelihoods work in the Philippines. The grants from the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) follow up on the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Nov. 2013. The grants will support Heifer International livelihoods work on the island of Leyte, Lutheran World Relief livelihoods work on the islands of Cebu and Leyte, and rehabilitation work by a Filipino nonprofit organization in the coastal community of Tanauan, Leyte.
As of the end of April, more than $211,000 in donations received by the Emergency Disaster Fund in 2013 and 2014 have been earmarked by donors for Typhoon Haiyan response.
An allocation of $70,000 is supporting Heifer International livelihoods work on the island of Leyte. This grant will help fund the Building Resiliency and Sustainable Agribusiness in Haiyan-Damaged Areas of Central Philippines (BReSA-Haiyan Rehab Project).
The project will assist 5,000 families in rebuilding, recovering, and developing lost livelihoods, while at the same time ensuring future disaster preparedness in their respective communities. Through capacity building, training, instituting CMDRR, expanding agribusiness projects, replacing lost/deceased livestock, strengthening social capital, capacitating groups and cooperatives, and other climate-adaptation and preparedness initiatives, the project aims to empower families to become more resilient and self-reliant.
Lutheran World Relief
An allocation of $70,000 for Lutheran World Relief livelihoods work supports a long-term response to the typhoon. Called the Resiliency and Change for Haiyan Affected Families and Communities, this long-term response project benefits coconut farmers and coastal fisherfolk living on the islands of Cebu and Leyte. The grant also will help to equip local government and organizations to assist in long-term sustainable solutions.
Funds will support the Lutheran World Relief objective to ensure that farming- and fishing-related livelihoods of the most vulnerable are rehabilitated to be more sustainable and resilient in the face of future potential disasters. Assistance will be given to coconut farmers to transition to cocoa and other priority crops, as determined by the local agriculture sector. The fisherfolk will be supported by helping coastal communities restore seaweed farming, providing livelihood insurance, and rehabilitating coastal mangrove areas, all while strengthening community organization.
Burublig para ha Tanauan
An EDF allocation of $35,000 is going to rehabilitation work in the coastal community of Tanauan, Leyte. The majority of the money ($30,000) will support a newly organized Filipino nonprofit called Burublig para ha Tanauan (BPHT). This organization seeks to help in the restoration of the town. This portion of the grant will focus on providing fishing nets, a sewing center, and pedicabs for families who lost their homes and source of income.
The remaining $5,000 will provide school supplies for both teachers and students at the Tanauan High School. The school sustained considerable damage, and the government will not be able to resupply teachers for more than a year, as it focuses on construction projects.
About Typhoon Haiyan
On Nov. 9, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines causing a wide path of destruction and loss of life. This massive storm had sustained winds reported up to 195 miles per hour, and gusts up to 235 miles per hour, equivalent to a giant EF 4 tornado. As one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history, it was the latest and one of the worst of a continuous pattern of natural disasters in the Philippines. It was the third Category 5 “super typhoon” to make landfall on the Philippines since 2010, and followed the deadliest earthquake in 23 years just a month earlier (Oct. 2013).
The total storm path was more than 1,000 miles wide, damaging or destroying more than 1 million houses. Locally known as Yolanda, the typhoon affected more than 14 million people and displaced approximately 4 million. It caused more than 6,200 deaths, with more than 1,000 people still missing. Storm survivors report the number of official deaths is artificially low as they don’t include many of the children that died.
The devastation resulted in severe damage to the country’s agriculture and fisheries sector, costing the region $225 million in damages, according to the United Nations. These areas likely will face severe food security issues and may struggle to re-establish livelihoods. Sugar cane fields were not harvested due to the storm and may not have a more normal harvest for a couple of years. Millions of coconut trees lost during Haiyan means many farmers will not have coconuts to harvest for the coconut oil industry. Further, coconut processing and rice processing plants were severely damaged and are not functional. As a result many poor farmers have lost their primary source of income for the next several years, as it takes five to seven years for new coconut trees to produce.