Bridging emergency response, rehabilitation and development following Typhoon Yolanda
Located along the typhoon belt in the Pacific, the Philippines is ranked as the third most disaster-affected country in the world. It is hit by an average of 20 typhoons each year, which are increasing in both severity and impact. Currently, almost three years after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and deeply affected communities, ACTED focuses on longer-term development interventions, with an emphasis on resilience. These projects address recovery needs in terms of shelters, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), as well as livelihood restoration.
Improving access to and raising awareness of water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH)
Since 2015, ACTED has continued its WASH assistance by shifting from urgent humanitarian needs to early recovery and development. 58 communities have been supported across 4 municipalities in Eastern Samar province to reach Zero Open Defecation status and to increase access to improved sanitation and hygiene facilities. ACTED continues to support the capacity-building of local governments to establish WASH committees and strengthen communities with gender-sensitive and risk-informed WASH plans, as well as to monitor communities’ WASH status, via the Philippines’ Approach to Total Sanitation (PhATS).Awareness-raising activities were organized in schools on WASH best practices and assisted in the development of behavior changes and infrastructure-related School Action Plans.
Facilitating inclusive and sustainable growth
ACTED, together with People in Need and Helvetas, is supporting inclusive and sustainable growth by using a Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) Approach in 6 municipalities in Eastern Samar. M4P uses systems analysis as a means of addressing constraints faced by disadvantaged people in improving their position within markets. ACTED addressed the pressing needs - such as a knowledge gap - of 6,000 households whose livelihoods focused exclusively on coconuts prior to the typhoon. The introduction of more profitable and resilient livelihoods facilitated the farmers’ engagement in alternative farming activities. In order to enable farmers’ access to such opportunities, ACTED facilitated the development and strengthening of a local service provision system (Agricultural cooperatives).
Improving communities’ resilience through the construction of permanent shelters
In order to support the reconstruction/recovery of the population, ACTED built 300 transitional shelters in Leyte for families who lost their houses after Typhoon Yolanda, and provided 181 shelter repairs kits to 2 communities in Babagnon municipality after Typhoon Hagupit. ACTED has also developed a partnership with local authorities to secure and develop land on which 126 permanent shelters will be built. In 2016, the relocation site was inaugurated and construction began. Furthermore, ACTED will help 30 households among the most vulnerable to restart an income generating activity.
Pursuing a holistic approach
Moving forward in 2016 into longer-term rehabilitation, ACTED continues to focus on the WASH, shelter, and livelihoods sectors. Disaster Risk Management (DRM) continues to be an important element across all interventions in the interest of avoiding disasters, reducing their impact, and recovering from losses, while Linking Relief, Rehabilitation, and Development (LRRD). ACTED’s efforts to build resilience in the Philippines aim to contribute to a sustainable reduction in vulnerability through increased capacity of local populations, governments, and other actors; improved ability to identify, address, and reduce risk; and improved social and economic conditions of vulnerable populations.
A Major change through Build Back Safer
Working closely with beneficiaries and empowering local populations to support resilience capacities is at the core of ACTED’s approach. Maricel is 32. She lives in San Diego, North Leyte, and has two young children and another baby on the way. Maricel attended all construction-related meetings and workshops on Build Back Safer techniques conducted by ACTED in her community and she understands the importance of building back safer: “It is important to build on a strong foundation and in bad weather to tie-down your house”. She is now very happy that she has a bigger and safer house for her children to grow up in.
ACTED's response to urgent needs following typhoon Melor
ACTED places emphasis on rapid disaster response, beginning assessments within 48 hours of the disaster and deploying emergency response capacity within 72 hours. Typhoon Melor, locally known as Nona, struck the Philippines on 14 December 2015, killing 42 people and damaging thousands of houses. Over Christmas, the ACTED Philippines team delivered much-needed supplies: distributing over 400 shelter repair kits, and water purification tablets for almost 3,000 households, in order to address urgent water, sanitation, and hygiene needs. Each distribution was accompanied by awareness campaigns to support the resilience of individual households against future typhoons.
A coordinated and holistic approach to improve outcomes
In order to ensure timely humanitarian assistance to recurring and increasingly volatile natural disasters, ACTED continues to strengthen its response capacity and engage in emergency preparedness and coordination with other humanitarian actors. ACTED supports a sustainable reduction in communities’ vulnerability to disaster impacts and an increase in community resilience through a coordinated disaster risk reduction approach. In 2016 and beyond, ACTED will continue to improve community access to WASH through close partnership with both local government and communities, in addition to supporting the restoration of livelihoods by empowering farmers in diversified livelihoods skills and facilitating linkages to markets to boost household incomes.