Over the past six months the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has played a leading role in stabilising the humanitarian situation by providing emergency assistance to all regions affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

The Philippine Red Cross, supported by the IFRC, ICRC and 50 partner National Societies including New Zealand Red Cross, has been one of the principal providers of emergency relief to survivors since the disaster struck. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has been one of the few organisations to work across all affected islands of the Visayas - including Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Panay and Palawan.

Over 1 million people have received food and non-food relief items and thousands more have benefitted from clean water and medical services. New Zealand Red Cross has sent a total of nine personnel to the Philippines to help, including experts in IT and telecommunications, security and recovery.

The Movement has met 25% of the emergency shelter needs of survivors – with tents, tarpaulins and other materials distributed to almost 140,000 households.

The incomes of more than 75,000 households have received a significant boost from unconditional emergency cash grants distributed by the Movement. 161 new classrooms have been constructed in damaged schools.

While survivors have shown remarkable resilience, millions remain in a precarious situation and will need long term assistance to support their recovery. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is committed to remaining in the affected regions to help people rebuild their lives and restore their livelihoods.

Thousands of people across the Visayas have lost family members, homes and livelihoods. Basic services such as water and electricity have not yet been restored in some areas and many survivors continue to endure considerable mental anguish because of their experiences and current circumstances.

Recovery plan

A Red Cross recovery assessment found that although many communities had started to recover, high levels of pre-existing poverty were holding them back. Building the resilience of communities is key to overcoming the hardships of the past six months and sustaining long-term recovery. The Philippine Red Cross has developed a recovery plan to assist 155,000 affected families (775,000 individuals) over the next three years.

The plan will focus on reconstruction of homes, improvements to water supply, sanitation and health services; restoration of lost livelihoods and incomes; as well as disaster risk reduction programmes and development of the Philippine Red Cross’ capacity and structures.

Restoring livelihoods and helping affected communities to rebuild safer and more durable homes are key humanitarian priorities for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement

Livelihoods support takes various forms. Cash grants will enable people to buy shelter materials and also be used to hire skilled labour - which in turn boosts local employment opportunities. Livelihood interventions are targeted at individuals (skills training), households (asset replacements and seeds for farmers and fisher folk) and communities (support for local cooperatives). Cash for work schemes will also form a component of these programmes as will vocational training programmes that provide people with opportunities to re-skill.

Support has already begun to roll out to help families rebuild homes together with projects involving the construction of shelters. This has already started with pilot projects in Leyte and Samar.

Different approaches to providing shelter support are being adopted throughout the typhoon-affected area. These include the construction of storm-resilient shelters designed to last for up to 15 years and help for families who are re-building themselves. The intention is to help families incorporate best practice on rebuilding, combining technical advice, cash grants, shelter repair kits, tools and materials.

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement recovery plan pledges to help 775,000 of the most vulnerable people to recover and improve their resilience to future disasters, especially now as we head into the next typhoon season.